Impotent sexist rage does not a terrorist make.
On 12th August 2021, incel Jake Davidson goes on a spree killing with a pump-action shotgun in Plymouth, England. Plymouth residents put the street back together, the media make their reports, and the public take to twitter to broadcast their outraged responses – amongst which is the arbitrary assertion the episode constituted a terrorist attack, and incels should be classified as such.
The Guardian characterised it as a movement, but the reality is that incels do not fit the basic definition of a movement. Terrorism is characterised by the desire to achieve a political or ideological aim by violence and fear. Once in a while, an incel drinks the Kool-Aid and gets out of hand. But these outbursts, as awful as they are, fit more with spree killings than the motivations of more goal-oriented killers.
At best, incels are a sort of inert tangentially connected self-pitying mass. Incels do not have a political agenda, nor are they following an ideology beyond, perhaps, some kind of misguided sense of entitlement to getting laid without leaving the basement. From a group that started out being defined by their namesake – involuntary celibacy – incels are today marked not by the state of their sex lives, but by the hideousness of their personalities and their delusional response to, and excessive focus on, the state of their sex lives. Sex is almost secondary to what an incel is defined by at this point. So there is no end idea here. Just the coagulating stain of some incoherent degenerates.
If you were to categorise these attacks as terrorism, then you would effectively be suggesting that we broaden the definition of a terrorist. In that case, as far as you can ascribe a utilitarian function to the word, it’s worth asking people calling for this redefinition both for their suggestion for the new definition and their suggestions for an active form of regulation or enforcement. The trend here is just another illustration of what happens when twitter starts off on a crusade – there’s a lot of vague suggestions that we rebrand something or ban something or cancel something, but nothing beyond a vague proposition to plaster a label onto whatever it is and then ride off into the sunset as if you’ve saved the day.
Presumably the new definition for terrorism is “Whatever is triggering me at this moment in time.” Their ice cream melted – terrorism! Ban thermal conductivity! This is why it’s difficult to take the political left particularly seriously today: despite constantly posturing as if made up entirely of first-class doctors possessed of a rational disposition that would give Sherlock Holmes wet dreams, their default position seems to be to fly into hysterics, abandon all attempts at critical thinking, and dive into the kinds of wild connections and logical fallacies that make idiots like Ben Shapiro look like Wintermute. As good as it is for retweet numbers, not everything is #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.
If I were an extremely cynical man, I might suggest that the self-righteous posturing so endemic to social media has nothing to do with the issue of any particular day – it’s just an excuse to use people’s tragedies to farm internet points in a tedious attempt scramble up the social totem pole and assuage an infantile ego.
To categorise incels as a terrorist organisation is sort of like categorising anonymous (are they even a thing post-occupy?) as a terrorist organisation – you can’t because there isn’t. It’s a label for a loosely affiliated social group, not a coherent self-identified collective. Furthermore, identifying incels as a terrorist organisation suggests that people want the state to act in order to stop… well, what, precisely? Whining on 4chan?
Once again we find that people haven’t really thought about what they actually want. Getting upset and demanding ‘an end’ isn’t enough. In concrete terms, what is the thing people want, precisely? A ban on spree killers? We already have that. It’s called murder. There are established sentences for that. A ban on misogyny? No more red pills and black pills and so on and so forth? How are you going to achieve that? As utterly pathetic as these lamentable man-children are, you can’t set up a government regulator for worthless cunts.
In the same way that the incels think they should be assigned government-mandated sex slaves, the social justice warriors seem to think the government should regulate thought patterns. What exactly is the state supposed to do about people failing to manage their own egos? Even such a thing could be done, is there a way in which it could be done without sacrificing autonomy or what little privacy anybody has left to external interests, and are people willing to do that? Are the people in favour of categorising incels as terrorists also in favour of snooper’s charters? Have we really sunk to the point where we want a state that acts as a primary school teacher, cleaning our messes and breaking up playground squabbles over who gets to play with the yo-yo?
The major thing holding the incels back isn’t women, or their virginity, or their perceived place on the sad little totem pole of social status hierarchies. It’s purely their refusal to take responsibility for themselves. And no matter who points this out to them or how many times it’s explained, they will not accept it, choosing instead to blame their inability to get their dicks wet on everything from gender equality to genetics to democracy, never once pausing to conceive of the notion that a shower and refraining from calling every woman a whore if she doesn’t immediately want to sleep with them because they held a fucking door open. They don’t quite seem to grasp the idea that this doesn’t make them a ‘gentleman’ – it makes them a bloke with an arm. Well done if you’ve made it that far – you’re well on your way to meeting the absolute bare minimum for being potentially attractive on any level to anybody at all.
However, even this is more responsibility than the incel is willing to take on board. They would prefer to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to arrive at the conclusion that the government owes them a harem for some reason. This is why the incel fester-pit cannot be viewed as an ideology, it’s absolutely true that they are violently misogynistic – but so are a lot of pitiful idiots, have you seen the state of the so-called ‘manosphere’? These sad rejects are now making up new kinds of man based on Greek letters because a guy studying wolves got his research wrong – and then published a paper on why his previous research was wrong, which these people promptly ignored! So it is that misogyny is just one aspect of a far more pathetic whole; it’s not driving a set of coherent ideas, it’s just an excuse to reject any suggestion that anybody ascribing to these ideas might actually be the problem.
One wonders what an incel might create if, in some dystopian nightmare world, they were somehow able to pass a sex law – what would be on the bill and how would they quantify their own displaced failings far enough to arrive at a measurable law – x number of orgasms within y distance of another human per month? How would they justify everybody else having to suffer because one sub-mediocre neckbeard won’t put the minimum effort in to have sex, but who is nonetheless down to start indiscriminately shooting at people?
Finally, there’s some even talk of society failing young men. How? Getting laid is an individual responsibility, not something that concerns society. If a person isn’t getting any, nobody cares (for that matter, if a person is getting some, nobody cares either). To the greater extent, society has gone ahead and done all of the work for us. Do you want x number of orgasms within y distance of a separate human per month? There are literally dozens of apps for that. It is an entire industry, and what’s more it’s designed solely to perpetuate orgasms within the proximity of different humans per month based on the fact that if people were having orgasms with the same humans each month then the purveyors of said apps would run out of customers. Point being: Women like coming just as much as men do, so it is literally a numbers game. Someone somewhere is down to fuck. Cynical? Not my problem – argue with game theory, I guess. So, to the notion that society has been failing young men, I have to ask: How much more can anybody possibly expect society do for a person’s sex life? Is the end goal just to sit on the end of a conveyer belt with your legs open and see what happens? Where does personal agency and responsibility come into this equation?
There is no external cure for the incel. If you want to get rid of them, you are going to have to foster and encourage a culture of personal responsibility. Some people would laughably claim that we have such a thing – those people would be either delusional or deficient. Find me a politician or business leader or other “elite” persona who is willing to accept the responsibility for a failure if they cannot spin that posture to such an advantage that the net positive PR outweighs the negative.
Incels hate women, a Daesh sympathiser hates The West. The difference is that The West has symbols and structures of society that can be attacked and disrupted – such as the guy who drove a car at the Palace of Westminster and stabbed a police officer, in 2017. But gender doesn’t have the same set of formalised physical spaces and influential structures as the British Parliament. There is no centre of womanhood with a board of directors for femininity, to threaten. It is an identifiable category by default rather than a deliberately established social body, in that they share a chromosome (or sense of personal identity in the case of the trans community). This being the case, there’s nothing to take down. That is a failed prospect from the outset unless one somehow come up with a feasible pre-meditated plan to kill four billion women across the span of a planet. As a result, any attack directed at women as representatives of a gender can only be viewed as an expression of impotent rage, no matter the extent of the consequences, rather than the deliberate attempt to enact or begin the process of attaining a defined state or end goal that defines the attack of a terrorist.