Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Abolition of Men

Joe Queenan told us the other day that he is "sick of reading the 'Man Up, Barack' editorial" from the President's liberal detractors ("'Man Up, Obama' and Other Nonsense," Wall Street Journal, Oct. 26, 2009).

I am surprised that the thought of manly virtue enters the liberal mind at all. It has been central to the New Left liberal agenda for generations now to un-man men so that we may all live in a world that is not only sexually more egalitarian, but also safer.

Here are two articles on how boyhood is being abolished so that virility may trouble us no more.

Anthony Esolen gives us "A Requiem for Friendship: Why Boys Will Not Be Boys & Other Consequences of the Sexual Revolution" (Touchstone, Sept. 2005).

Our boys are failing in school. Has it occurred to no one that we have checked them at every turn, perversely insisting that they must not form brotherhoods, that they must not identify their manhood with practical and intellectual skills that transform the world, and that they must not ever have the opportunity, apart from girls, to attach themselves in friendship to men who could teach them?

Anthony Esolen is Professor of English at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.

The second article is by James Bowman, the author of Honor: A History (Encounter Books, 2006). In his article, "The Decline of the Honor Culture: An Old Code Becomes Déclassé" (Policy Review, August/September 2009), he looks at how liberal passivism neuters our boys and will leave our country defenseless insofar as we allow it to continue.

It’s hard to persuade boys of military age that they have a duty to fight for their country when they have been taught from their earliest years that fighting of any kind is wrong and shameful and only leads to more fighting.

You should read this article alongside what C.S. Lewis says about "men without chests" in The Abolition of Man. James Bowman is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.


Chris J. said...

It is a certainty that manhood is a difficult maze to navigate. The lack of mentoring adults, as well as the mixed signals they receive about their most basic urges leaves most confused about who they are as men. Take into account also that many of the male actors in movies act more like boys than men. Boys no longer look to men like Roy Rogers as heroes they wish to emulate, now it is comedians who act like children themselves.
I disagree with James Bowman, the difficulty is not getting boys to fight, but controlling that urge in a productive way. Instead of repressing the urge to fight, what I have seen repressed in youth is the idea that men must fight with honor. Boys still fight, but they no longer understand that there is a right way and and a right time to do so.
I heartily recommend "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge to any man looking to better understand who he is as a man. I also recommend it to women looking to better understand men.

David C. Innes said...

Thank you, Chris. Those are very helpful remarks.