Mannerbunds don’t work like that, Mr. Yuray


Take a look at the photo of a riot above. Note that there is violence, but no cohesion. The men in the photo above are in conflict with each other and with other men in their vicinity – but no social structure will be strengthened by this social conflict.

Mark Yuray wrote:

we will define a Mannerbund as a group of men organized in an organic hierarchy that springs from the male competitive instinct. The Mannerbund forms quickly and naturally between any group of men because it is predicated on the male competitive instinct.

Men, far from being epicene, atomized “individuals” with strictly “rational” tastes and preferences, have an easily roused and conspicuous instinct towards competition and – more importantly – hierarchy realized through competition. In other words, the natural and default state of men among men is hierarchy, because hierarchy is the end-product of competition, and men instinctively compete with each other.

The male competitive instinct pervades male-to-male interactions. Two men will instinctively “one-up” each other in every possible way until one of them submits to the other’s perceived authority. No need to be cartoonish about it, since the one-upping, sizing up and competing can be subtle and intellectual just as it can be loud and violent. Whether submission is amicable or post-brawl is just a matter of taste. Male rams spar for authority. Male gorillas do it too. PayPal engineers brawl on the engineering room floor. Sports and war are just the large-scale versions of the same behavior spurred by the same instincts in humans. Sports and war weren’t invented by atomized, perfectly “rational,” individual “actors.”

This competitive instinct is healthy and necessary for proper order. A group of men will compete with each other implicitly and explicitly until an unspoken hierarchy forms based on perceived authority.

Solid modern Mannerbunds follow a fairly simple formation process. A number of men with similar ancestries, attitudes and temperaments gather, test each other, organize into an informal hierarchy and begin taking risks as a group. By risks I do mean anything with an uncertain outcome. Small risks such as getting beers downtown lead to intermediate risks like playing on the same sports team or going lifting, shooting or boxing together, and those risks lead to great risks such as starting a business together, or on a more historical note, forming a war party and invading a barbarian land together. Confidence is the fruit of successfully-taken risks. Trust is confidence in another man. Trust requires a track record of successfully-taken and shared risks. Risk is the substrate of friendship, of loyalty, of competition, of hierarchy, and of the Mannerbund.

The above screed is wildly wrong. But the conclusion shows Yuray’s fond hope: that the present pendulum-swing toward social disintegration will reverse itself and swing back toward social cohesion.

Many times, when men come into conflict, there is no resulting group formation – just enmity and destruction.

Men who already share a considerable bond of kinship – fictive or otherwise – can strengthen their bond by competition. But competition itself does not give rise to loyalty.

Mark Yuray’s wrong ideas deserve to be lifted into the light and thoroughly examined, so that they can be rejected on a rational basis.

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One Response to Mannerbunds don’t work like that, Mr. Yuray

  1. Tucci78 says:

    Not always competition.

    Quite commonly, a man sees another guy going in harm’s way, either directly in pursuit of the previously outlined objective or to some purpose indirectly in aid of that objective’s achievement, and says to himself (and perhaps to others within earshot): “That stupid so-and-so is going to get killed if we don’t back him up. C’mon, let’s get moving.”

    Rather more often than the faculty of the Infantry School would like to admit, this is one critically important factor in leadership.


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