Briffault: Rules for the Rational Simp

By Paul Elam & Peter Wright

Hey guys. From time to time I have the pleasure of collaborating on a piece with Peter Wright of Though it is written in first person, this is one of those pieces. My sincere thanks to Peter.

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“The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”

Or so said Robert Briffault, an English surgeon, anthropologist, and novelist back in the day. And sure enough, if you listen to all corners of the manosphere, there’s no shortage of agreeance with this so-called, “Briffault’s Law.”

“Them there’s the rules,” you’ll hear, with absolute conviction and certitude, “and their ain’t nothin’ you can do about it.”

That outlook is roughly confirmed in a small poll taken by Peter Wright, offering four different interpretations of what Briffault’s Law actually means. One, that it is 100% true as written. Two, that it applies to only nonhuman animals. Three, that the law is accurate, but that it applies equally if the sexes are reversed. And four, you don’t much care about Briffault or his law to begin with.

The results were pretty clear. As you can see, 61, or 91% of those who responded see Briffault’s law, down to the last dotted i and crossed t, as 100% accurate about the female of the human species. By any measure that is an impressive amount of unanimity.

And we certainly see backup for this mentality from the more prominent MGTOW voices out there on the interwebz.

Stardusk titles a remarkably unremarkable talk, linked below, with, “Briffault’s Law – The Most Important Thing You Can Know as a Man”

Sandman opines in more personal fashion in one of his talks, linked, with the following. “I know from my own personal experience that I have two modes of operation with regards to my life,” he says, “Either I’m waiting for a woman to choose me to have a relationship, or I typically don’t care for them – like I do now.”

Finally, we have Colttaine, who expands the definition of Briffault’s Law with the same practiced acumen a feminist employs to expand the definition of rape, linked below “From where I’m sitting,” he asserts,  “the problem with Briffault’s Law is that Robert Briffault didn’t go far enough with his definition. Women don’t just determine all the conditions of the animal family, they determine ‘all the conditions’ –  period!”

Setting aside my desire to shame these public displays of learned helplessness, well, ok, partially setting aside that desire, I still want to focus on what these guys are saying and why I think it’s a learning opportunity for red pill men.

I know the online red pill community pretty well by now. And one thing is for sure, that community is above average in intelligence. Way above, in my opinion, which makes the 91% who subscribe to an obvious fiction with such religious fervour all the more perplexing.

At this point, some qualifying is necessary, though I wish it weren’t. Saying I disagree with a single prevalent MGTOW belief isn’t the same thing as disagreeing with the idea or practice of men going their own way, which I do support wholeheartedly. If you’re too obtuse to see that and appreciate the difference, this is my piss off in advance. Feel free to leave your butthurt in the comments.

That said, let’s start the conversation with a little common sense. I know, they grow ‘em big and dumb in Texas, but we do learn the difference between shit and Shinola early on in life. That predisposition, that stubborn Texas insistence to get 4 when adding 2 and 2 leads me to one inescapable conclusion about the idea of perception of benefit, a perception on which Briffault’s Law is totally reliant.

I don’t blow my nose, or even scratch it for that matter, without a perceived benefit. I don’t take a leak, put on socks, or do, literally anything you can think of, without perceived benefit. That’s true for the smallest, least significant things I do, or that I can even imagine doing. As human beings, acting on perceived benefit is pretty much all we do. By the time we’re talking about intersexual selection and pair bonding, there’s wheelbarrows full of perceived benefit on both sides. Anyone who can’t see it could perceive some benefit from eyeglasses.

And I know what some of you may be thinking. That we are socially conditioned to see the perceived benefit of the woman as what really matters. And that the weight of that social conditioning means that Briffault was right, “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family.”

And to be fair, just pointing to the obvious fact that human behaviour, generally speaking, is driven by perceived benefit, isn’t a thorough enough rebuttal to Briffault’s widespread acceptance across the manosphere.

Before we dig into precisely the meaning of Briffault’s claims, let’s take a moment to consider Briffault the man. What do we know about him? Well, we know that he was raised by a strict, fundamentalist mother from the age of eleven after his father’s untimely death.

In short, Briffault was the product of an abusive, single-mother home. From accounts of biographers, we know that Briffault resented his mother’s controlling nature, but nevertheless went on to write about mothers at enormous length and extolling their superior status in the human scheme.

That alone is undoubtedly prima facie evidence of learned simpery, but let’s go on.

In his most famous book The Mothers, Briffault argues for the importance of mothers over and against fathers. The editor of the same book introduces him as a man without a loving bond with his mother, but with loving and fond memories of his deceased father. About Briffault from the intro, we read:

“It is not unreasonable, when a man has devoted seven years of strenuous work to arguing the importance of mothers as against fathers, to ask whether he betrayed any marked attitudes towards his own parents. Mrs Herma Briffault informs me that he had little apparent attachment to his mother, but often spoke of his father. (He seems, nevertheless, to have had a picture of his mother in his room in the last decade of his life). His mother was evidently a reserved, ‘canny’ Scots-woman, of strict views, whose capacity for personal warmth seems to have been limited, and perhaps he felt, as an infant, denied the acceptance he desired. He certainly rejected violently his mother’s strong religious beliefs and teaching. Clearly there was strong ambivalence here, and the attacks — which suggest narcoleptic stupors — which assailed him at the time of his mother’s last illness seem consistent with the idea of a powerful love-hate relationship.”

The biographer then goes on to conclude;

“It is not difficult to see how natural such attitudes were to one whose outlook had been conditioned by the experiences just described. I have observed elsewhere that, when a child has one parent who is easy-going and affectionate and another who is severe and apparently unloving, it identifies itself with the former and is preoccupied throughout life with its relationship with the latter… when it is the mother who is unloving, this leads the male child to a preoccupation with women and with incest. This was certainly the case in Briffault’s great contemporary, Havelock Ellis, for instance. It seems to have been equally true of Briffault.”

If we take this as true, the influences that led Briffault to his gynocentric conclusions, as well as his personal weakness with women, come into clear focus. Inadequate, abusive mothers and absent fathers. The results of that toxic combination are now sprawled across the cultural landscape in form of legions of young men who become obsequious lapdogs whenever in the presence of women.

It’s that instilled powerlessness that leads many, even if indirectly, to seek solutions in PUA, MGTOW and other red pill venues. And I argue that we still see the remnants of that same learned victimhood in the widespread acceptance of Briffault’s Law.

Moreover, it appears that many have taken hold of Briffault’s Law and applied it exclusively to human relationships in a way that Briffault didn’t even intend. Briffault applied his Law toward non-human animals, and the chapter in which he announces his Law is titled ‘The Herd and the Family Amongst Animals’ under this subheading ‘The Female in the Animal Group.’

The chapter is five pages long. In it he mentions tigers, elks, lions, zebras, gazelles, buffaloes, deer, monkeys, beavers, lions, birds and other animals, and only references humans briefly in order to contrast human behavioural patterns from those of animals.

Although Briffault appears to have intended his Law for animals, he also presented human sexual relations with the same exaggerated gynocentric framing, demonstrated throughout his book ‘The Mothers The Matriarchal Theory Of Social Origins’ which is chock full of cringeworthy claims of female superiority and male inferiority.

Whatever the merits of his observations, it is only fair to say that he was writing a century ago and his speculations were a product of the thinking of his day, and perhaps the personal pathology of his life. His work is replete with the flattery of and deference toward, women. It’s possible his thinking was even shaped by ideology of first wave feminism, which was running rampant in the culture during the time of Briffault’s writing.

Fast forward to contemporary research and we have a wealth of information to test, and quite frankly dismiss, Briffault’s hypotheses.

Steve Stewart-Williams, PhD in psychology and philosophy, wrote a now famous paper distilling the literature of evolutionary psychology on questions of intersexual human dynamics. Notably, he reiterates findings from the field of Evolutionary Psychology that males are also very choosy in selecting mates, which debunks the view that Briffault’s assumption concludes that only females choose. Williams states, and I quote;

“According to a common understanding of sexual selection theory, females in most species invest more than males in their offspring, and as a result, males compete for as many mates as possible, whereas females choose from among the competing males. The males-compete/females-choose model applies to many species but is misleading when applied to human beings. This is because males in our species commonly contribute to the rearing of the young, which reduces the sex difference in parental investment. Consequently, sex differences in our species are relatively modest. Rather than males competing and females choosing, humans have a system of mutual courtship: Both sexes are choosy about long-term mates, and both sexes compete for desirable mates. We call this the mutual mate choice (MMC) model.” 1

Stewart-Williams goes on to conclude that men, throughout our evolutionary history, have crafted women into the creatures we want – Pygmalion style. In other words, modern woman, in all her inglorious splendour, is, like it or not, the Stepford Wife that men actually chose to build. How’s that for patriarchal choosiness?

Pygmalion creates Galatea

He states, for example, that “human males have a number of well-documented, species-typical mate preferences. These include preferences for physical traits such as a low waist-to-hip ratio, facial and bodily symmetry, neoteny, and youthfulness. They also include preferences for psychological traits such as intelligence, emotional stability, and sexual fidelity.” 1

Imagine that – males throughout evolutionary history having a preference for intelligence and emotional stability. It’s almost as though he’s saying that men are exercising a personal choice, not only about whether to pair bond, but also about the type of woman they choose.

Not only does this bitch slap common manospherian ideas of Briffault as human gospel, it also destroys the cliché that ‘all men want is sex’ and will take anything that moves – providing the female “selects” them. It’s also worth noting that male mate preferences have left their mark on female physical morphology – again quoting Stewart-Williams:

“In some domains, women are more sexually selected than men; one… example can be found in the domain of physical attractiveness. Women are typically rated as better looking than men, by both men and women (Darwin, 1871; Feingold & Mazzella, 1998; Ford & Beach, 1951). The difference is plausibly a consequence of the fact that, although both sexes care about good looks in a mate, on average, men care somewhat more (Buss, 1989; Lippa, 2007).

This means that, since this sex difference first evolved, there has been a somewhat stronger selection pressure on women than men for physical attractiveness—the opposite of what we find in peacocks. To take a more specific example, the fact that adult human females have permanently enlarged breasts is plausibly a consequence of male choice. Contrary to popular opinion, enlarged mammary glands appear not to be necessary for milk delivery. The vast majority of mammals deliver milk without them, and there is little correlation between the size of a woman’s breasts and her capacity to produce milk (Miller, 2000). What, then, are breasts for? A rather obvious clue can be found in the fact that most men find youthful-looking breasts sexually attractive. This has led to the suggestion that the primary evolutionary function of breasts relates to mate choice (Dixson, Grimshaw, Linklater, & Dixson, 2011).

The most widely accepted suggestion is that they are honest signals of good genes, youthfulness, and nutritional status (Jasienska, Ziomkiewicz, Ellison, Lipson, & Thune, 2004; Marlowe, 1998; Singh, 1995; for an alternative hypothesis, see Low, Alexander, & Noonan, 1987). If so, women’s breasts tell us something important about ourselves, namely, that we are not the kind of species in which males only ever pursue sex indiscriminately and females alone exert mate choice. Breasts are evidence of male mate choice operating over many thousands of generations (Cant, 1981). The same is true of other secondary sexual features found in human females, including facial neoteny (e.g., large eyes, small noses and chins); gluteofemoral fat deposits and the hourglass figure; and lighter, smoother, less hairy skin.” 1

“Of course,” Stewart-Williams concludes, “no one is surprised that men have mate preferences; it is such a familiar fact of life that we take it for granted. From a comparative perspective, though, we should be surprised. The existence of these preferences makes our species atypical among mammals and is inconsistent with the idea that we are an MCFC species.” 1

Considering these widely available scientific facts, we must wonder if men upholding Briffault’s Law are simply brainwashed by the prevailing gynocentric narratives, or whether they too suffer from “male mother need” as Briffault himself did? When, for example, Turd-Flinging Monkey dismisses all women as THOTS but then goes on to talk for a decade about said thots stealing men’s authority, is that not akin to Briffault’s obsession with female self-interest?

Who knows? Perhaps an examination of TFMs relationship with his mother would be revealing.

For me, the red pill is, in its purist form, a dedication to living in the truth. It’s red pill 101 that women should not be viewed as an omnipotent power in the lives of men. That, dear listeners, is one of the very first liberating truths of men’s red pill existence. That women largely have only the power we give them, and that we have the power to keep them in check. In the earlier days of red pill, we called it veto power, the ultimate trump card for men. And we still have that power in spades unless we insist on immersing ourselves in the victim narrative.

So how then, do we have red pill commentators proclaiming aloud, and I quote again, “Either I’m waiting for a woman to choose me to have a relationship, or I typically don’t care for them – like I do now”?

Word for word, that could have been uttered by any defeated blue pill simp you’ve ever met in your life. Get mad if you want to, you know it’s true.

And to be clear, I am not saying a thing in contempt of men who look at all the facts and choose to avoid women based on the risk, effort, expense and unfairness that often comes with the so-called fairer sex.

Indeed, I think it’s important to point out that we’re talking largely about two distinct groups of men. There are those who have stared reality directly in the face, weighed all the facts and dispassionately concluded that women are not worth the effort; that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, as it were, and veto power is at the core of their very identity. If you’re in that group, this talk is for you, but it isn’t really

The other group are men who have looked at the challenges of attracting and pair bonding with women and decided that they are just not up to the job. These are generally men whose spine has never survived contact with a woman. Their frame cracks, splits and ultimately shatters at the hint of female influence. You can hear it in their endless droning about how a man can never win, how women make all the rules and that the rules are unfair. They make sweeping declarations of personal powerlessness. To wit, “Women don’t just determine all the conditions of the animal family, they determine ‘all the conditions’ – period!”

Men like this appear incapable governing their own lives if women are involved. They can’t choose mates, not because women have unbridled personal power, but because those men don’t have the personal strength, values and integrity to remain in control of their lives.

They are just men who can’t hold on to their interests, their friends, their values, or self-respect because women make all the rules and they have no choice but to follow them. Because that’s the way things are, and Briffault’s Law is the so-called truth they wallow in to prove it.

If that’s your idea of red pill, you might want to skip the refills.

Whatever the motivations, I can safely say that a blind belief in Briffault’s Law is relegating many men’s personal progress to the dumpster, because if men have no choice about the conditions of their life, what possible agency can they have?

What form of personal autonomy is it that you can’t practice in the presence of a female? What kind of poorly constructed frame won’t bear the weight of a woman’s whims? Ya know, if you have to hide from anyone to assert your, uh hum, agency in life, you might hear Inigo Montoya, whispering in your ear, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

Personally, I’d rather try to pull an AR15 out of Kyle Rittenhouse’s hands than surrender to this weak bullshit.

Finally, I’d like to propose a different set of axioms for red pilled men: First, as a human male you are the most magnificent living entity ever known to exist. Men built civilization and conquered all manner of frontiers. If I were to try to list all the accomplishments of men, you’d grow old before I got finished.

Whatever your decisions about allowing women into your life, seeing yourself as a loser who can’t win is a self-fulfilling prophesy, with all the lameness that implies. If you want sex, companionship or even a relationship based on red pill principles, don’t let some youtuber’s mommy issues hold you back. Don’t lock yourself into the black pill prison of learned helplessness and nihilistic defeatism. Well, unless that is what you want to do. If that’s the case, just make sure that when you’re staring into that black, optionless void, you know it’s just a mirror of your own making.

Meanwhile, red pill men will enjoy the byproduct of personal agency, accountability and practiced wisdom; a solid frame that doesn’t crumble when a woman enters the room. A frame that doesn’t crumble for anyone.


Briffault’s Law: The Most Important Thing You Can Know As A Man

Sandman (2:32)
Briffault’s Law: Women choose men. Men can’t choose women.

Colttaine (17:51)
Briffault’s Law doesn’t go far enough.

Robert Briffault
The Mothers: the Matriarchal Theory of Social Origins.

Steve Stewart-Williams
1. The Ape That Thought It Was a Peacock
2. The Ape That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest
3. Are Humans Peacocks Or Robins?

* * *

Addendum: A small point that some commentators missed, is that Briffault aimed his law strictly at animals. Just before he gives his law he states, quote; “There is, in fact, no analogy between the animal family and the patriarchal human family. The former is entirely the product of the female’s instincts, and she, not the male, is the head.” So while its perfectly ok to mis-apply Briffault’s law as he intended it (a biological law operating among non-human animals), its important to note that many have repurposed his law for describing the current gynocentric culture operating among humans…. which of course a lot of MRAs could agree with regarding the gendered issues operating in the cultural and legal spheres. Again, this was not the intended meaning of what Briffault wrote – he was describing biology, not the shapeshifting dating and culture trends of recent decades, and its that misplaced biological determinism among humans, wrongly attributed to Briffault, that is under question. He was, notwithstanding, very much a gynocentrist aside from the wide misapplication of his law by modern commenters.

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