So the time has come for me to review a book written by my boss (my tertiary boss to be more specific. I work three jobs, so you know I’m amongst the societal elite). More specifically, it is Roosh V’s most recent book Free Speech Isn’t Free, the first of his books to be written while I was on staff at Return of Kings. FSIS is a relatively short (a little more than 200 pages), immensely readable tome that provides several things: most obviously a harrowing story of one man’s struggle against government and mob censorship, it is also a brief guide on how to combat censorship yourself, whether it be from the government or from the–ahem–volunteer paramilitaries that police speech these days. Most importantly (and worthy of its own book) is Roosh detailing his journey from a mere Pick Up Artist to the progenitor of the philosophy of neomasculinity, advocating and promoting a far greater purpose than mere carnal lust.
The foreword by my colleague Quintus Curtius is worth reading in its own right: He opens with the fact that we’re constantly told we’re living in a golden age, and how this would seem to imply that we’re not. He then moves on to discuss how a legitimate benchmark for progress is the ability to speak freely without fear: While we certainly have this on paper–and the instantaneous transmission of information via the internet–in practice we are censored by the mob and the government colluding to stifle minority opinion such as our own, under the guise of our speech being “offensive” and “having consequences.” While I wish Quintus had discussed how the “free speech consequences” argument had been debunked by John Stuart Mill a century and a half ago, the point he makes at the end is salient enough to keep this a minor quibble: “Rights” are not given by god, they must be fought for.
The first half of the book is a linear story of how the “Battle of Montreal” came to be, starting with coming up with the idea of a “World Tour” of public speaking, and undergoing training (via Toastmasters) to cover up a weakness in public speaking. He also sprinkles in a few tips on public speaking–maintain eye contact, use body language that matches what you say, and ask the audience questions to keep them attentive–for what else is the manosphere if not a group of men trading tips on self-improvement?
This part of the book best serves to illustrate what all of us are going up against, and how these forces can be overcome: outside the venue of the German speech was a gay pride parade, in which men in leather thongs paraded gimps on dog leashes nearby young children. In addition, two of the paying guests at that speech were moles writing for newspapers who gave the event a biased, highly negative review. The following British speech was openly attended by BBC reporters, also negative.
In New York, Roosh is brought in for a roundtable discussion with a “libertarian” think tank that largely parrots the leftist “goodthink” of the day, and the author rationalizes that an outright white nationalist movement will be forced to arise to speak for the marginalized white men who have been completely betrayed by these “conservative” politicians–and this has indeed happened, although as a number of my articles point out, not in the ideal way that I would have done it (to put it VERY mildly).
All of this negativity is offset by the highly evident (and frankly, inspiring) sense of camaraderie shared by the attendees–men of all ages and races struggling with the same problems–indeed, there is a stirring passage later in the book in which a man approaches Roosh to tearfully tell him that the “hateful hateness” of Return of Kings has changed his life for the better. The creative intellect is also exercised at these speeches: It is in London that Roosh says that the first concepts of “neomasculinity,” using masculine virtues to improve society instead of just the individual within the society, stir in his mind.
Shortly after, he begins to posit the theory of depopulation and disunity as the end game of modern leftism after a conversation with an attendee in Washington DC: more specifically, a non-violent depopulation via lowering the birth rate with a variety of tools such as the promotion of feminism to destroy relationships between men and women, causing racial and ethnic strife via immigration to distract from the government’s malfeasance, and the ready availability of “bread and circuses” to further distract the apolitical.
While I would personally argue that it’s less a program of worldwide depopulation (the skyrocketing fertility of the third world would belie that) and more a program of turning the world into a low monoculture of consumer sheep, both Roosh and myself would agree that the time has come to be less concerned with pickup and more concerned with “…rebuilding the west after its collapse at the hands of elites deliberately destroying it.”
But it is the next few chapters, all taking place in Canada, that are most fascinating: Both sides begin a campaign of information warfare immediately upon Roosh’s entry to the Great White North–the establishment publishing a julienne of articles accusing him of being a rapist and passing around petitions to ban him, and our side retaliating by digging up dirt on the SJWs and utilizing private information channels to spread the truth. Indeed, the next several chapters can be considered a how-to guide on fighting social justice warriors without the use of violence. In an exciting series of events involving disguises, subterfuge, assault, and slander, Return of Kings emerges victorious, and Roosh flies home, realizing that not only was the trip a success financially, but it was also a spiritual success, helping him realize that he had more to do in his life than just get laid and make money.
These chapters are entertainingly readable as both a linear story and an instructional manual on how victory over the current Zeitgeist can be achieved. Also noteworthy is Roosh admitting that he struck out with two girls in Germany–as I myself have implied in several articles, be wary of any “pick up artist” who never admits to a failure with women. While I felt that some of the tactics early on were questionable (namely, I feel he should have recorded the British speech to counter the allegations made against him by the hostess later in the month), a clear learning process is evident in the solid prose-he had to learn these tactics on the fly, and made a remarkable improvement.
But it is the epilogues which, in my opinion, are the things that will be most remembered about this book, despite the somewhat poor editing choice to make the “epilogues” into half the book. Nonetheless, they are written in as plain and accessible language at the first half of the book, and in some cases provide a much more heady experience.
The first epilogue is most notable for providing a literal interpretation of the title of the book: calculating his financial losses from the tour, DDOS attacks, lost book sales, and having to hire security, he estimates it to be a $10,000 “mob tax,” proving that free speech is, literally, not free. The second is a brief overview of the worldwide meet-up controversies, the firestorm of media lies and slander, and how Roosh ultimately felt the responsibility towards his followers was to ensure they were not put into potentially dangerous situations.
The “State of Man Lecture” and “What is Neomasculinity” are the best parts of the book, with my only complaint being identical to that of my complaints towards Jack Donovan’s writings: I already knew all this information due to my consumption of ROK’s writing, and it didn’t provide anything new. However, in condensing the information into a convenient location, these two chapters alone are a must read for anybody new that is interested in the manosphere, or for that rarest of creatures–an objective journalist wanting to do research on the subject of the people they’ve been paid to do a hit piece on.
All the complaints we make, and the tenets of our burgeoning philosophy are here: The sexual marketplace has been heavily skewed towards women with the deliberate overturning of objective standards of beauty, the corrupting influence of modern culture, and the lack of positive masculine figures for young men to learn from. But most importantly, this is not a miserable, doom and gloom movement. There is the optimism that things can change for the better with the adoption of neomasculinity, which would entail bringing back traditional gender roles, putting sexual limits on men and women, self-improvement in a variety of ways, free speech, self-sufficiency, and “the red pill.” An objective viewer would realize that these are, at the very least, rational and defensible positions, and undoubtedly they will move many men to tears of joy as they use them to improve their lives.
The quote from the book that struck me the most was the ending of the first epilogue:
“…[The next time I get attacked], I will not fear it because when you believe in something better than yourself, you are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.”
While risking social ostracization in our writing is a far lesser sacrifice than this hypothetical martyrdom, all of us at Return Of Kings have in some way been inspired by the dedication Roosh shows, and as the many positive reviews from men like myself, Vox Day and the aforementioned Quintus Curtius show, you may very well be also.
You can pick up “Free Speech Isn’t Free” here.