Weighing the benefits and risks of maintaining an online persona.
Readership: Men; Manosphere authors and commenters;
Theme: Risk Assessment
Length: 1,850 words
Reading Time: 6 minutes + 4 minute video
Some time ago, Derek Ramsey wrote a series of posts about the widespread anonymity in the Manosphere.
- Derek L. Ramsey: Anonymous Leadership (2018-12-14)
- Derek L. Ramsey: Anonymity and Authorship (2018-12-22)
- Derek L. Ramsey: Anonymity and the authority of God (2019-1-2)
To sum up these posts, his main points were as follows.
- Names are a basis of one’s identity. Ramsey gave the example of a woman taking her husband’s last name.
- Names hold authority and convey leadership. Anonymous authors thus have a hollow leadership.
- Anonymity provides meaningful protection. It protects against the ideological persecution and deplatforming, such as that at Twitter, Facebook, Google, Patreon, WordPress, and others.
- Anonymity helps prevent real life harassment, like that experienced by Tucker Carlson’s family.
- Anonymity protects against government suppression.
- Anonymity is a tool for the weak, the cowardly, the ignorant, and the dishonorable. Anonymity is often employed to protect idiots who are all these things.
- People are anonymous because they fear something, legitimately or not. They are not willing to put their own neck on the line when they take controversial stances.
- Anonymity is a lie. Lying is always a sin. Sin leads to defilement. This is one reason why the internet is so toxic and dirty.
- Pseudonyms corrupt the soul. People are more likely to say something critical, false, judgmental, or toxic that they wouldn’t say if their identity was known. As such, one consequence of anonymity is a degradation of one’s self.
- People who have things to sell (e.g. books, training programs) are not anonymous. People who don’t are anonymous. There are very few exceptions.
- Jesus didn’t work anonymously. He never backed down or softened his words to avoid conflict. His words were biting and cut to the heart. He never put his life before his message. He showed true leadership. Jesus’ followers stood by their names as well. Churches were built upon the teachings of those who were named.
- A man should put his reputation behind his words. The word of a Christian should be his bond. Christians are God’s agents and speak with the authority of God. Anonymous authors cannot fully represent God.
- Those who remain anonymous cannot be held accountable.
As readers can see, Ramsey advocated full disclosure of one’s identity, regardless of the consequences.
Interestingly, Bruce Charlton and Michael Foster (the author of It’s Good to be a Man) apparently agree with Ramsey’s perspective. But for me and most of the other commenters, the bottom line is that I/we can’t take Ramsey’s argument seriously. Several commenters pointed out that it’s easy for him to encourage disclosure for others. For example, Lexet wrote,
“That is easy to say if you are not in a profession where you would be fired instantly, and your career destroyed, for saying anything remotely anti-PC. And I say that as someone who works in a politically conservative environment. Leftism is everywhere, and people live in fear, and will throw their best friends under the bus to avoid 5 minutes of fake scrutiny by people who don’t matter.”
The comments were rife with objections, including a few life or death scenarios.
- Missionaries in China.
- Being honest with criminals while under gunpoint.
- The book of Hebrews was written anonymously, possibly to avoid persecution. To this day, scholars cannot identify who the author was, but their best guess is Timothy. In the last post listed above, Ramsey responded by saying that the authors were well known to others back when they were written. But isn’t there a reason why the author didn’t identify himself in the text whereas Paul and other NT writers did?
IMO, Ramsey’s argument is purely philosophical, with strong appeals to moral conscientiousness. Never does he address the wisdom or purpose for either recourse, nor does he undertake an assessment of benefits vs. risks.
Persecution and Risk
I have written before about how foolish it is for men to operate in good faith and be honest and trusting with those who are not offering the same in return. For example…
- Developing Attitudes That Help You Cope (2015-11-5) examined the value and purpose of trusting and being open and honest with others.
- The Blue Pill, Feminism, and Sin (2018-10-16) mentioned how Feminists and SJW’s have a regular pattern of resorting to violence, rage, and dishonesty, all efforts to force others to conform to their narrative of truth. Doesn’t that make you want to give them your full name, address, phone number, and place of occupation? (sarcasm) “Hey! I’m a good guy! I’ve done nothing wrong. So what is there to lose by being honest?” This is a foolish recipe for disaster.
- Men’s Fantasy of Emotional Intimacy (2021-6-23) described how foolish men are honest and open with a woman because they naively expect the same from her. NovaSeeker described how women will use this information against men. Scott has made it his mission to make men aware of how their idealogical love is seldom reciprocated, and is instead used against them.
- When walking on eggshells, step boldly! (2021-6-30) discussed how men often fail to exercise discernment as to whether a woman is actually capable of offering either love or respect, and therefore open up under the assumption that it is right to do so, or that honesty is important, or merely because he desires to be loved by her.
Obviously, the outcome can range from beneficial to destructive, so we must employ wisdom.
Case Study — Zippy Catholic
Like 2014, 2018 was another extremely difficult year for the Manosphere. Censorship, deplatforming, demonetization, shadowbannings, and various other persecutions were rampant and got worse as the year progressed. I documented the shake down in The Evolution of the Red Pill (2018-12-31). Many Red Pill authors went under, and a few of them voiced their difficulties. But we only know what they were able to broadcast online. Many of these abrupt changes were surrounded by mysterious circumstances which were not revealed to the public at large, and I suspect there was a lot of dirty pool going on behind the scenes.
Let’s take Zippy Catholic for an example. The name of the man behind the blog and online persona of ZC was Matthew.
Zippy Catholic was the first anti-mainstream-narrative blog that I came across back in early 2017 (yes, I was a latecomer), and through him I discovered all the others (Dalrock, Deep Strength, Illimitable Men, Roissy, Rollo, Roosh, et al.), so ZC has always had an important place in my heart.
Zippy Catholic / Matthew consistently produced logical, intelligent arguments, which picked at the threads of Usury, Liberalism, and Anti-Realism, and he was impressively effective in convincing many people of the inherent evils.
You can believe that somebody was not happy about that.
He was also a renegade maverick blog author who took on both modern Feminist society and the Manosphere, tearing down the foundations of the Matrix – in the name of Jesus, no less.
Somebody was definitely not happy about that.
On September 18, 2018, Matthew was killed in a mysterious hit and run accident while he was cycling. Shortly after he died, another blogger at another site he blogged at before he opened his Zippy Catholic site “outed” him and published a mini-obituary using his full name and identifying him as ZC. That blogger was quickly and viciously criticized for publishing that obit, and it was taken down within a day or two. The primary reason for the criticism was that ZC did not want his real identity known. His son Gabriel confirmed this news in a comment under his last post.
About four months after Matthew’s death, I searched the internet for more information about his death. It was fairly easy to find his real identity online, and there was a lot of very personal information about him floating around the internet. I won’t disclose much about what I found, except to say that he was quite successful as an investor and CEO of at least one start-up. He had published five technical papers in SCI journals, and held six patents on webpage data mining. In short, he was an accomplished man, not only in the blogosphere, but also IRL and as a man of faith too. That’s worthy of honor and respect — but not to everyone.
The first thought that went through my mind after reading of his sudden, mysterious, hit-and-run death was, “They finally got to him.” Although I’m not even sure who “they” would be.
But whoever the culprit might be, it is not outlandish to believe that whoever was making money from the usury that Matthew assailed, had felt the chill and put a price on his head.
I know some readers might find it disrespectful to Matthew to speak of what might be called a “conspiracy theory” here, but I think a sufficient period of time has transpired since his passing, and I want to put this idea out there.
I know this is all conjecture, but I believe it could very well be true. So I am quite willing to chalk him up as a modern day martyr.
Christian Red Pill / Manosphere bloggers and commentators need to weigh the benefits vs. risks of giving out any clues whatsoever about one’s real identity. There must be a specific purpose for either adopting a pseudonymous identity or revealing personal information for all the world to see. In some cases, it could be a matter of life or death. Censorship and demonetization pale by comparison.
In the final analysis, the question of whether to be anonymous or not quite literally becomes a question of whether this is the hill one is ready to die on.
So basically, this comes down to two options.
- If you remain anonymous, you can continue to spread the wisdom you have found and minister to other men.
- If you identify your real life person, you can suffer and possibly die for your beliefs.
The apostle Paul described these two options like this.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.Philippians 1:21-26 (NKJV)
Revealing one’s identity makes one an easy target. So unless you’re nearing the conclusion of your life’s mission and are seeking to enter into a martyr’s glorious eternal rest, the resulting harassment and persecution will only slow you down and may not be worth the trouble.
- Σ Frame: The elephant in the room is the canary in the coalmine (2020-11-2)
- Σ Frame: On Red Pill Awareness (2021-7-23)