Self-determination in reference to determining one’s own thoughts and actions was first used in the 1600s.
Other meanings of self-determination are cited below:
I make omelets my own way. By that, I mean exactly like you’d see in any cookbook. I whisk some eggs, melt some butter in a frying pan, pour the eggs in along with some cheese and maybe some other things for filling. What, you might ask, makes it my own way? The fact that it’s me doing it.
I also go my own way to work in the morning. The highway and during rush hour with thousands of other people. Each of them also going their own way. Why do I say I’m going my own way to work? Simply because it’s me doing it. Now you’d think that’s hardly my own way. If I were to go my own way to work, you’d think it would mean in some way fundamentally different – and you’d be right.
Like men going their own way.
If you were to imagine going out on your own, on your own way, you might expect that would mean something like MGTOW, that you are free from outside control, not dependent on another’s authority.
You might envision someone shrugging off society’s yolk, refusing to self-sacrifice and being one’s own boss. That’s what MGTOW is, even though a man certainly has the right to place himself in danger, to sacrifice himself for another, and to support others, he chooses not to. He goes his own way, in his life, in his choices, he remains sovereign.
Marriage is dangerous for men, it’s sacrificial and compels the man into support for his wife or ex-wife. In marriage, a man necessarily compromises, gives up sole control over his life and his property. As with the earliest known MGTOW groups “The Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band” it was acknowledged that MGTOW and marriage could not co-exist.
Now what about this concept of MGTOW simply meaning male self-determination? This is such a gross over-simplification as to completely change the concept. MGTOW can be better thought of as a second or third order male self-determination. That is, a man who is determined to maintain and preserve his self-determination and determined to refuse anything that might infringe on his future self-determinism.
For example, a man has the right, and could have his own self-determination to join the military, but joining the military greatly reduces a man’s self-determination. A soldier cannot go his own way. After he is no longer under military obligation, he could be MGTOW, yet while active, he no longer has his autonomy, independence and sovereignty. In the same way, a married man cannot be MGTOW.
Hopefully, I’ve already addressed possible rebuttals. Yes, men ought to have the maximum amount of choices, autonomy, freedom and options. Yet, the movement is not simply a group of men making choices from options they have. That understanding would not be recognizable to hardly anyone professing to be MGTOW. I won’t be appealing to the dictionary to say that MGTOW are by definition unmarried, but rather re-iterate that the philosophy and reason for existing preclude marriage, since MGTOW can be better understood as a second or third order self-determinism.
MGTOW is not simply about men making their own choices. It’s about making the choices that ensure further choices and maximum freedoms.
No man is under obligation to be MGTOW, but if you choose to sell yourself into government slavery (whether martial or marital), you are not MGTOW. If a man is married, he can be a great guy, he could live a great life, he could wake up sympathetic and with a desire to be MGTOW but he is not MGTOW. That’s how the movement understands itself, that’s what its philosophy prescribes and that’s simply what MGTOW is.
Just to be a little nitpicky here, I don’t agree with the claim that male self-determination “changes” the concept of MGTOW. It doesn’t, and the definition is correct. But I do agree that as we retain that definition it can be fleshed out in greater detail, which the above piece does by expanding it to cover both present and future self-determination. For example, the above rightly advises men not to place themselves in a legal contracted marriage accompanied by the illusion of a woman respecting of his self-determination now, but which in future can be stolen from that same man as a woman enacts the restrictive powers latent within the contract – hey presto, self-determination squashed by the State. Ditto joining the military.
Elsewhere I’ve fleshed out the definition by examination of the opposite of male self-determination, i.e., determination of self by other (DOSBO). Determination of self by others is the antonym already implied in the definition of self-determination. The antonym limits the definition of MGTOW and in one stroke negates the claim that MGTOW can mean anything a person wants it to mean. By applying the DOSBO rule, no person can qualify as a MGHOW if he hands over a significant amount of his sovereignty to another entity.
For example, on the face of it we might assume pro-feminist men are ‘self-determined’ for having made a choice to be led by the spirit and letter of feminism. It hardly needs saying that this amounts to a false claim. The only self-determined decision such men make is an initial one to give up self-determination altogether in favor of determination of self by other—which is, of course, the antithesis of self-determination and thereby disqualifies the MGTOW definition according to the DOSBO rule.
As a limiting principle, DOSBO delivers MGTOW from the meaninglessness of subjectivism, delivers it from the claim that MGTOW has no inherent meaning, or that it can mean whatever the hell a person wants it to mean. It gives a more detailed meaning (as Andrew also attempts in the article above) with real meta ideological commitments. – PW