Before starting I want you to watch this video about a couple from my neck of the woods.
Watch the entire thing.
Was there anything in particular that struck you as peculiar?
Most likely it’s the criticism they’ve received for adopting Victorian Age culture.
Sounds odd that random women would violently confront a stranger and scream at them merely for wearing a corset, doesn’t it? Or that people would actually resent someone’s anachronistic lifestyle enough to openly harass them about it. One could argue their behavior is strange, but so what? Why does it produce such anger and rage?
Live Action Role Playing As An Indirect Form of Protest
The couple is engaging in a very advanced form of live-action role playing (LARP). The term typically refers to medieval role playing you find within groups such as the Society for Creative Anachronism. However, recently I’ve seen the term used more frequently in reference to people attempting to live according to outdated norms from a previous era. It’s one of the many charges leveled against the Alt. Right and neomasculinity proponents; that they want to recreate some 1950s Golden Era.
We tend to think of LARPing as an organized collective game or event, like a Renaissance Festival. But this mentality paints too narrow a picture. As the Victorian couple in the video demonstrates, LARPing can consist of just two people wearing certain clothing and fashion, eating certain foods, decorating their house a certain way and adhering to certain behavior. To cast LARPing as some human form of an RPG game ignores the underlying psychological motivations for why people engage in it; it’s an attempt to escape from an undesired environment when physically leaving is not necessarily feasible or possible.
For all our talk about freedom and liberty, life in the Western world is heavily regulated by the state. Social and culture norms are codified through laws and policies. State-run education indoctrinates youth to view government as sovereign and the final authority on all matters. Just to name a few examples, look at dating site christianmingle.com forced by government to open up its dating options to homosexuals.
Human Resource departments ensure that even what you do or say in your private life can hurt your career if it violates the decrees of the state. State marriage laws make it impossible for a couple to have full control over the terms of their relationship. It even taxes them differently; unmarried couples now get twice the mortgage interest deduction under the IRS tax code.
We’re taught what to think, how to think, what to say, what not to say, where to say it, who we can say it to, and what will happen if we don’t obey these rules. Government policies are designed to prevent or discourage traditional households in which the man works and the woman stays home to raise the children because it wants one more individual paying income tax while the children are raised by the state.
For people who reject the modern culture, there are few ways to avoid it.
What we call “LARPing” is one of them. It is more or less a rejection of the prevailing state-controlled values in favor of an organic, voluntary community. It’s a sign of dissatisfaction with the prepackaged mainstream cultural values we’re offered with the implication that there are consequences for rejecting it.
Now look back at the video and you can see why Baby Boomer ladies were so angry with this woman for innocently wearing a Victorian-age dress purely as personal preference. By doing so, she is rejecting a culture created by Baby Boomer generation women through the Sexual Revolution and the multiple waves of feminism. I’ll get to this later, but she’s also refusing to participate in their preferred form of LARPing.
She is saying, “I don’t like what you’ve given us. I like what we used to have.” However, their resentment is also partially due to feminist brainwashing and propaganda about the Victorian Age in which anything associated with the period involves female oppression.
What makes LARPing seem ridiculous or a pretentious, especially to critics, is that all the social, cultural, religious norms it promotes ultimately must submit to state coercion and aggression if the state decides it does not want to allow the activities to go on. Their “rules” are only enforceable through voluntary means, whereas the state can force their rules upon all regardless of consent. We can pretend to live in a society based on honor, but we can’t enforce the consequences for dishonor. LARPers can also “leave” and return to the normal world anytime they want.
LARPing also tends to whitewash or romanticize historical periods that, if we were to get into a time machine and visit, we would find were not be so pleasant. I remember a historian telling me that were I to go back to Medieval times I’d be unable to stand the stench which people then regarded as an ordinary part of daily life.
Statism As a Form of LARPing
But here’s the thing: Much of our current culture and society that relies on the state to enforce is itself a form of LARPing. It’s LARPing because it goes against the natural order of things.
I’m going to upset some folks here (barbarian, remember?) but cosmopolitan multicultural environments are a form of LARPing. In reality, most people don’t want to live outside of homogeneous communities. Having women work en masse in corporate cubicles or serve in front line combat roles rather than raise children is LARPing (Dalrock calls this “playing career woman”). Egalitarianism and equality are just as much myths as the giants Don Quixote saw instead of windmills so when we add them to the LARPing it only works through political violence.
In The Warrior Princess, manosphere writer Rollo Tomassi touches on the extent to which the military will go to perpetuate a form of LARPing in which women are men’s physical equals.
It’s akin to play fighting with real swords.
In fact so dependent on this imagining are women that they expect the simulations of battle to accommodate their lack of capacity to handle the reality that they’ll lobby to alter the qualification necessary to engage with that reality. Thus, the physical requirements for combat suitability are reduced to a degree where women can feel like a success and maintain the storyteller’s archetype of themselves, thus sustaining their ego’s investment in it.
The problem then becomes one where men not only become responsible for women’s security as well as their own security, but also the maintenance of their feminine-primary self-image as a strong, independent, individual capable of achieving an equal measure among men while the real-world requirements mean life or death for them both.
The fantasy of female empowerment is not just the social expectation of men, but it is also the life-threatening liability of men who don’t (or can’t) perform it for them. Men literally risk their lives to maintain women’s equalist fantasy of independent strength apart from, and above that of men.
Trying to force association where it would not occur otherwise or prevent associations where it would occur, is LARPing. Affirmative Action is LARPing. Section 8 is LARPing. So are attempts to turn Third World hellholes into Western democracies. Keynesian is a LARPing – as John Keynes himself said regarding flaws in his economic theories, in the long run we’re all dead.
Transgenderism is just a mentally ill form of LARPing; a boy puts on girls’ clothes and says he’s a female but at the end of the day his genitals are the same.
The difference between statist LARPing and regular LARPing is that, unlike an anachronistic organization, the state puts a gun to someone’s head and say, “You will believe what we tell you. You will pretend.”
So we pretend. It’s why people get outraged when we play make believe in ways that threaten state-reliant fantasies. They perceive the vulnerability inherent in their ideologies. Were it not for the state, the coercion that enables their type of LARPing to exist would end.
Photo from larping.org.