A Religious Road Trip

American Pilgrim by Roosh Valizadeh
Kings Media, February 16th, 2021

One of the earliest posts I wrote when I started this blog was a review of Roosh’s Free Speech Isn’t Free which chronicles his notorious speaking tour that sparked outrage — most notably in Canada. I opened that review as follows:

Roosh V is an understandably polarising character but not really for the reasons often portrayed in the media. He gets a mixed response among the alternate right because he promotes sexual licentiousness while advocating traditional societies and sex roles. There is an obvious contradiction between the two which from what I’ve read and heard of him, he seems conscious of. While I don’t agree with the behaviour he both engages in and promotes, I support him because whatever he may be; he is not a leftist. I also get the impression that he is moving towards traditionalism and I pray that in time, he will come fully to Christianity.

At the time, I was still a recent Catholic convert though I hadn’t yet been received into the church. I first came across Roosh after I was married so understandably wasn’t interested in reading the kinds of things he wrote but I always found his socio-political writing interesting (and still do). As must be obvious by the title, my prayers were answered as I’m sure were the prayers of many more people. In short, Roosh came to a dead-end with the sinful life he was living (and promoting) and in turning away, he turned to Christ. This book chronicles the journey he went on across the United States sharing his own personal journey to Christianity. I don’t live in the United States but I did purchase the video of his What I’ve Learned About Life speech when it was released and the text of this speech is included as an appendix in the book. 

The only thing American Pilgrim really has in common with his previous books is that it is a travel book. In this he shares the experiences of the many sites and cities and the people he visits across the continental United States and despite the proximity, I assume his experiences last time kept him from including Canada. Interspersed throughout are observations, thoughts and confessions about his progress as a Christian which he had become in March, 2019 three months before the tour began. This is a serious work but Roosh has a great sense of humour and his observations are frequently amusing such as his experiences in a San Francisco coffee shop:

I looked around and saw a mostly homosexual clientele using Apple devices. I began to feel like I was in a doctor’s waiting room of people awaiting the results of a HIV test. I left without placing an order.

If this appeals to your sense of outrage more than your sense of humour; the book is not for you as there are many such observations within. As another example. he notices the correlation throughout the country with gay flags and vagrancy. One sin begets another. Ditto for drug addiction, coloured hair and immodesty.  

As said, this is also a very serious work as in this exchange with one priest after sharing his conversion story:

“You’re in great danger,” Father David said.
“Why?” I was expecting a compliment or maybe a “Good job.”
“You were doing the will of the evil one for a long time. He’s not going to let you go so easily. Many people, when they turn to God, are given a moment’s rest. Things appear easy because they are full of God’s grace but there will be a moment where it appears God has left you. Then you could exceed the sins that you committed in the past. I knew a man who experienced one-and-a-half years of incredible grace. He thought the fight was over and his salvation assured. Then the grace was removed. God never left him, but went silent to let him walk on his own. Unfortunately, he went back to his old ways.”
“What can I do to prevent this?” I asked
“Know that you cannot do this on your own. You need spiritual guidance, and you need to participate in the sacraments. Are you close to your priest?”

Chapter 5: Guidance

This is something I have thought about myself and it is interesting to have it confirmed by another. When I first turned to Christ, I  was almost immediately able to stop the most serious sins but was still far from living a holy life. The most morally and spiritually detrimental were quickly (and initially easily) overcome but this was a gift to help fortify my soul. Roosh has the additional burden that many converts don’t of also leading thousands of others into a life of sin through his writing. After converting, he unpublished his most notorious books and has since left very little of what he spent most of his adult life chronicling available on his website. Anything he believed would lead men into sin, he ended up removing. Even so, many followers either did not believe or were angry with his conversion including many on the tour who probably expected a far different talk to the one they got. This would explain how deeply religious Roosh has become even to those who regularly pray, got to Mass, receive the sacraments and keep God’s commandments. This is clearly a heavy burden on his conscience.

On the journey he also met up with men like Owen Benjamin, E. Michael Jones, Jay Dyer and Wranglerstar who are in many ways different men but allied in the same fight. One of the surprises of these chaotic years has been witnessing so many unlikely allies coming together. Owen Benjamin and Vox Day for example, couldn’t be more different but have a successful partnership nonetheless. In spite of all the social decay chronicled here, there is good reason to be hopeful for America’s future with small communities banding together to build new communities. 

This tour was fortuitously completed in November of 2019 just a few months before you know what and the social chaos of 2020 gave him time and good reason to stay home and write the book. I am sure he can see God at work in this as if he’d left it any later, the tour almost certainly wouldn’t have happened. And even if the seeds take a while to bear fruit, he probably turned a great many men back on to the right path in doing this. 

This is definitely recommended to anyone who has enjoyed his writing or commentary in the past or just wants to support him. I would particularly recommend it to anyone who is still living the kind of life Roosh turned away from. For one of the most successful practitioners of “game” to feel like he’d accomplished nothing should at least incline one to give thought to the dangers of such a path.

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