This Friday, Terror House Press will release its eighth book: Masculinity Amidst Madness by Ryan Landry, a digression on the state of the modern world and how men can make their way in a society enveloped in chaos. The book features a foreword by Bronze Age Pervert, front cover art by Owen Cyclops, and back cover art by Terror House Art Director Matt Lawrence. I recently sat down for an interview with Landry to discuss his book, modern politics, dating advice, and other topics.
Matt Forney: You’ve been a fixture in the dissident right for many years and your work has covered a wide breadth of topics, from contemporary politics to social decay to history and more. What inspired you to write Masculinity Amidst Madness, a book designed to guide young men in a chaotic world?
Ryan Landry: Over the years, the emails and messages would come in: “What do I do?” Young guys were often asking that. I’d exchange emails with them and the replies revealed consistent themes. They were not ready to do anything because they had so much work to do on themselves. They had struggles in one area of life or another. They had a broken home or weak father. They had few people around them who were good examples. Many of our broader problems boiled down to men not being men and not even knowing what that means, because cultural gatekeepers use psychological warfare to make us conform our ideas of masculinity to its desired expression for its goals.
MF: The Internet is saturated in books about masculinity, but your book takes a far different tone in being rooted in philosophy, history, and your own life experiences as opposed to bluster and pomp. How have your personal life experiences shaped your perspective on masculinity and the advice you give to young men?
RL: Ye olde debates of the manosphere used to revolve around alpha or beta. There was also the split between hard alpha traits like power, money, position, etc., and then soft alpha traits like charisma, risk taking, courage, etc. What was it really about? I loved the idea of saying someone was an alpha who was a leader of men. Someone you would proudly say is your friend, brother, or father. After all, what was implied in Roosh’s site being called Return of Kings? I tried going through historical examples as well as fiction for what we were talking about to become a leader of men. History is full of leaders making terrible decisions because they would not be a king with all the weight that being a leader of men involves. From there, I started thinking about moments where different men in my life failed or succeeded, and what it was that they did or what traits they exemplified. So many times, it comes down to a man taking a risk to stand alone on an island, whether in a physical contest or debate. While we are all men in different ways, there are some core things we all share and in times of pressure must exhibit.
MF: Bronze Age Pervert authored the foreword to Masculinity Amidst Madness, and in a recent American Sun article, you mentioned that he was writing Bronze Age Mindset at the same time you were writing your book and you discussed and shared many ideas. “Bad” Billy Pratt has even described your book as “the perfect companion piece to Bronze Age Mindset.” What influence did BAP have on Masculinity Amidst Madness and how do you see your work in relation to his?
RL: BAP’s Bronze Age Mindset is on another plane and is a gift to all men. The conversations we had were long and were a lot of fun as we would bounce ideas off one another. BAP got me thinking more about the men throughout history who offer us examples to live by or act as cautionary tales. He is an encyclopedia of knowledge. I consider him like a brother. His book is an exhortation, a call to spiritual arms. Mine is a guide, a lamp in the darkness. If someone thinks he has strayed from the path, the light is right there to remind him where it is.
MF: I’ve always admired your writing style: it’s clear, direct, and shows erudition without being pretentious or pedantic. Which writers and thinkers have had the biggest influence on your writing style and ideas?
RL: One college professor slashed the hell out of the flowery writing of my teenage years. Another said, “Don’t use thesaurus words to show you’re intelligent, your concepts and craft will do that.” I cannot deny that, in 2001, when I bought Michel Houellebecq’s Elementary Particles while living in Europe, that everything clicked. He identified that hollowness to Western society.
MF: A key element in your book that distinguishes it from others in the same genre is your community-oriented approach. Much masculinity advice is focused on individualistic self-improvement, but you emphasize that men should get in touch with their familial, cultural, and religious roots in order to become a more complete person. Why did you choose this approach and what steps would you suggest for men who want to explore more of their past?
RL: No man lives alone. The individual focus creates developed men who can be perfect specimens sitting on their phone alone in an apartment. Might as well be a statue. To riff off the idea of the great chain of being, we are all links within the great chains of our families and cultures. Look deep enough and you’ll find an ancestor recent or far who in family history or lore acts an awful lot like you. Once a person sees they are part of such long stories of families, they get a deeper sense of purpose and meaning to their own life. I was fortunate to travel to the little village my family lived in for centuries. It was powerful standing in the small church they went to for ages and see the graves of my ancestors.
MF: One theme you tackle at the midpoint of the book is the fact that there “there is no longer any outlet for officially sanctioned righteous violence,” which has led directly to the rise of anarcho-tyranny, as can be seen with the riots that have engulfed the West in recent weeks. You extend this concept to how fathers are unwilling to lay down the law in their own homes, allowing their children to become corrupted by wider society. Given the legal and social constraints on men, how would you suggest that men retake control of their lives and protect their families in the face of anarcho-tyranny?
RL: Most of protection is avoiding bad situations. Can you get people to agree with your conception of risky situations? “No, honey, we’re not going to be in the pioneer gentrifying area with a baby on the way, we’re going to another neighborhood.” You win that mental battle, and the idea of owning a gun is easy to sell. It’s a mental game. Sphere of control and sphere of influence. Determine what you can control and master the skills and behaviors to make you a respected authority within your small circle. That starts with being good enough that you convince the man in the mirror you can do it. Once you have that capacity and confidence, it is not hard to get others to rank your opinions higher in their internal authority ranking system. People are herd animals and will take cues of those they see as higher status. Moving people to a grey zone where they stop deferring to outside authorities and not just dealing with issues themselves, but allowing you to do the same.
MF: I’m sure you know about the growing religiosity in this corner of the Internet, with figures such as Roosh Valizadeh and others turning to Christianity and Catholic writers such as E. Michael Jones becoming popular. While Masculinity Amidst Madness does discuss religiosity, the book has a secular tone overall. What are your thoughts on/experience with Christianity and its importance in these times?
RL: Funny you mention this. because the few people who have read this have said it was more secular than they expected. I am a Christian, but have always viewed it as not for everyone. It can be a tremendous experience for people who are ready for it, but not everyone is. From my messages with Roosh in August 2017, I knew he would eventually join a church, but I did not know the time. I’m happy he did on his terms when he was ready. I view religion as one piece to what makes us who we are. I’ve also met Hindu nationalists and East Asians where my advice is discover whatever is core in your identity that the globohomo empire has been denying you. We all are fighting the same global villain who wishes to turn us into the New Progressive Man and strip us of everything we are meant to be and have been molded to be by our families.
MF: An important element in Masculinity Amidst Madness is your advice on finding a wife. Many men today are incels or are otherwise unsatisfied with the quality of woman available to them; you counter by saying that it is possible to find a good woman and give examples (one of your most popular articles is on how to find a ballerina wife). What would you say to men who are despondent about the state of dating in modern society?
RL: Today’s dating market is the hardest dating market for American men since the Wild West. Obesity has ruined probably a third of women who 20 years ago would have been good wife material. Let’s give credit to men out there: incel stats for non-Asians put the incel figure at 13 percent. Of course, making yourself the best you that you can be will help, as does making more money. It’s true in America that as you go up the economic ladder, the women you meet in social situations do get better. Not golddiggers, just the sheer number of in-shape cute women are greater up-market. I’d advise men to not be afraid to seek help from friends or family to find a wife. Your social circle knows you better and might know who will be a fit for you, plus they will filter out crazies. Lastly, searching for a waifu differs than just a girlfriend. I was upset I couldn’t have a relationship last long, and a dear friend pointed out that I was always drawn to a hot body and didn’t care about a woman’s attitude. Once I changed priorities, I stopped wasting my time with flings for sex and met my wife.
MF: Near the end of the book, you discuss death, the necessity of coming to terms with it, and society’s continual denial of it. This pathological denial of death can be seen in everything from how society shoves the elderly into nursing homes, the boomer fixation on retaining youth through plastic surgery, and even the panicked response Western governments had to the coronavirus pandemic. How would you advise men to come to grips with the reality of death?
RL: I’ve always enjoyed the cultural images of death personified visiting different houses with the implication that he is always there. What we have done as a society is lost touch with its steady presence. Accept it and move on. Atomization and smaller families makes it a less familiar event, but it cannot be denied. The faster one accepts that one will grow old and die, the faster they can move on in life. I’ve mentioned to retired boomers, ones with the those bright-colored weekly pill cases, how in 15 years or so when they’re gone in passing remarks and they’ve lost it. Like, fool, you’re 72 and on 12 medications; 15 years was being generous. In complete denial about death, they then freeze up and make everything routine and about living as long as possible per the doctor’s orders. They stop living. It’s a cowardly existence.
MF: Finally, do you have any other books or big projects in the pipeline?
RL: Always have something in the hopper with the fringe right, but I also keep in touch with my normie right wing connections because we need to take the pulse for how things stand. The tension between the grassroots and the faces for parties can only last so long. I see more opportunities at the state level than trying to get D.C. to do anything. I’ve been trying to do a lot more in my immediate community. I spent two years working with recovering addicts, and frankly, it’s even worse than I imagined out there. How could I claim to have answers for people in D.C. if I can’t even get one addict to come back to meetings regularly? As things get worse, we’re going to need people with hands on experience to survive and thrive.
MF: Thank you for your time.