Men are aggressive, predatory, competitive, rough, sex-obsessed, unruly, stymied by complex emotions, self-important, prone to violence, and domineering.
Does that apply to all men? Hell no. As I said early on in this series, I’m going to make a lot of general statements. Generally, historically and biologically, the above statements are true. Your mileage — or your husband’s, son’s, nephew’s, father’s or best friend’s — may vary.
But these messy traits are part of the human male character — along with loyalty, focus, protectiveness, assertiveness, directness, courage, physical strength, logic, reason, intellectual rigor, risk-taking, fascination with machinery and tools, and more, both positive and negative.
In fact, let’s not speak of positive and negative traits. Violence and protectiveness spring from the same sources. Aggression and assertiveness are close cousins to each other. Blindness to emotions can be related to intellectual rigor, focus, courage, or inventiveness. Risk-taking can manifest as “hold my beer and watch this” or as the astonishing heroism of a Desmond Doss. Competitiveness can turn a man (or woman, though that’s a different subject) into a complete jerk or into a person whose rise to the top benefits the world. Or both at once.
It’s all in how those rowdy — and yes. often dangerous — male energies are channeled.
And that brings us to Reason One that good men are needed: because good men are essential for raising boys who will in turn become good men. Circular logic? Maybe. Truth? Yes. This we have covered earlier. Even the greatest mothers can’t do this one thing: be a living example to their children of what manhood ought to be.
Reason Two: Because trying to deny biology is stupid. It doesn’t work. Tell boys they must be more like girls (or drug their inherent restless, curious, disobedient boy-ness out of them) as we are now doing and you don’t end up with well-adjusted, less dangerous, more civilized men. You end up with confused, angry, self-loathing, resentful men or weak creatures in man-like bodies. And that is trouble. That means more incels, more misfits who hide in their parents’ basements, more drug addiction, more suicides, more unfocused rage, less productivity, fewer strong adults to do the hard and dirty jobs, very likely even more fulminating weaklings who decide spree killing is their big ticket to immortality. To produce healthy men, you must work with, not against, nature.
Reason Three: Because we need to build bridges, dig ditches, plan expeditions to outer space, develop and build new sources of power, handle natural disasters, build quantum computers, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, forge metals, protect communities, hunt game, collect trash, trim and harvest trees, fish in wild oceans, fight battles, and do a thousand other vital jobs that men have always excelled at. Again, can women do many of these things? Sure. Some can. And since women have been released from historic, imposed, artificial bonds more than ever are capable of such tasks. And good for us. But men’s brains, men’s bodies, and men’s temperaments were created for this kind of thing. And alas, by trying to make the more enticing of these tasks female-friendly, we all too often are trying to weaken the education of all rather than challenging the women.
Reason Four: Because even if we believe the population of the world is too high or growing too fast, we still need men with ample testosterone and healthy sperm counts to keep our species going. We aren’t producing many of those men today.
Reason Five: Because we need to defend liberty. We need to defend it with hard, logical ideas. With determined spirits. And perhaps ultimately with strong bodies, expertise with weaponry, and sound strategic and tactical thinking. Again, some women are good at these things. Mostly, however, these are the inborn specialties of men — but not of men who’ve been raised to be people-pleasing, non-controntational, don’t-rock-the-boat, compromising, fearful, whims-are-as-important-as principles sort of guys.
Reason Six: Because we’ve enjoyed the unique historical privilege of living in the first era of the world in which the individual — not the state, not the church, not the king, not the pasha, not the warlord — has been recognized as the prime unit of humanity, the measure of all justice, virtue, and prosperity. And this has been the work of men. Women, with their other-directedness, their emphasis on group endeavors, consensus, and collaboration could never have given birth to this revolution. And we women — and the carbon-copy men our feminized society is aiming to produce — will not and cannot sustain the primacy of individuality.
Reason Seven: Because dangers still exist and stability is at best a temporary state and at worst a delusion. This does not imply TEOTWAWKI (though that, too). It could include any bad situation, from an urban crime wave, to the natural (or political) ebb and flow of good times and harder times, to a family emergency, to war, to all-out Mad Max time. It’s a modern luxury to believe that government will always take care of us and that rough men are no longer needed. We live in a rare moment of calm in the history of the human race — and anyone with open eyes can see the cracks developing in the walls of comfort that surround us.
Reason Eight: For the sake of balance. A society totally steeped in traditional male values and governed by male urges might not look like The Lord of the Flies, but it wouldn’t be pretty, either. (And no, we have never had such a society. Even at their worst, patriarchal cultures have been softened and civilized by the women and children who are center of human survival.) Likewise a society totally steeped in feminized values wouldn’t look like Wonder Woman’s homeland. It would be … well, very much like the culture we see developing around us — in which people compete to earn social brownie points, governmental bounty, and special privileges for loudly proclaiming themselves to be weak, exploited, victimized, helpless, emotionally screwed up, oppressed, and perpetually indignant about one thing or another (even while simultaneously rising to the top of educational and professional ladders and bullying others into submission and silence).
Reason Nine: Because good men make good mentors. In professions and trades, and in life generally, older adults, both men and women, are invaluable for guiding younger people into productive paths. Professional mentors can help young up-and-comers find the best resources, make the best contacts, and present themselves in the best ways to succeed. These days, though, smart and capable men have become wary of being mentors, especially to women. Why take someone under your wing who might, years later, suddenly level a charge of sexual abuse at you, destroying your reputation and possibly costing you your career? No doubt some mentors have always been abusers. I doubt that will ever change; alpha men (or beta men in alpha positions) are often predatory. But today we’ve created a situation where wise, decent men fear to mentor anyone, especially young women. And that’s everyone’s loss.
Reason Ten: I almost hate to mention this because it’s both out of my area of expertise and out of character for me. But nations need strong men (not strongmen in the political sense) to hold their own on the global stage. Although testosterone and sperm counts may be down in many parts of the world, the cultural suppression and weakening of men is, as far as I know, primarily a project of the Western world — The U.S., Canada, and Europe. Other highly urbanized locales have their hapless half-men (Japan notoriously has its mostly male hikikomori.) But how much de-masculinization do you see in Latin America or the Muslim world? China apparently has it, but China is taking nationwide measures to combat the problem. The measures themselves seem pathetic and typically too collectivist, but at least they’re aiming to fix the problem of de-natured males rather than exacerbate it.
Do I think the Western world should be more like the Chinese or the Islamic states? Let’s give that another great big HELL NO. But let’s also not miss that world powers are clearly probing our weaknesses. Chinese diplomats have already, and uncharacteristically, told off U.S. officials and turned their contemptful defiance into a popular meme back home. The U.S. military is well into the process of going woke, which inherently means going weak.
If we don’t all go down in the same economic flames before it has a chance, China will outstrip the U.S. both economically and militarily in the near future. Now perhaps you think the U.S. deserves to lose its rank as the world’s undisputed superpower (we’ve done a lot to merit such a fall). Maybe you oppose nationalism in general. Maybe you recognize (the simple truth) that the U.S. has often used its power abominably. Maybe you’re an anarchist who considers all government an impediment to freedom (raises hand). Maybe you believe the U.S. military needs to be cut back, or that we should have no standing military at all (hand goes up again). But if you think that having the U.S. or other Western nations bow before the power of China or maybe a future Islamic hegemony will make the world a happier, more just, or more peaceful place, you’ve got another think coming.
So consider what happens when some collectivist nation with military might and ruthless ambitions decides we’re a weak target because they have strong, confident men and all we’re left with is wimpy men, angry women, and “leaders” who sway in the ever-changing political winds.
Women complain today that men are dangerous. And you know what? Men are dangerous. And we need them to be. It’s their historic and their biological function to be dangerous in protection of and provision for life, family, community, principles, and more.
One function of civilization (and of mothers and fathers) has always been to see that the dangerous traits of males are directed into healthy, productive channels or are given non-deadly outlets. That’s fine. That’s as it should be. But trying to make males harmless harms them and harms all of society.
That’s it. I’m done with this series now. Thank you for sticking with it to the end.
As I said at the start, it’s really a topic for a book, not a handful of blog posts. And it’s not a book I’m going to write. But I hope this series of posts will make a small difference to a small group of people. That it will make a difference to a few boys wondering why their world feels so upside down and uncomfortable for them. That it will make a difference to a few families hoping to raise healthy children. That it will make a difference to a few young women who secretly understand that grievance-based feminism and weak male lovers don’t make them happy. That it will make a difference to a few thinkers who’ve had these “unacceptable” thoughts but feared to speak up. That it will make a difference to a few men who perhaps wondered if any women in the world still valued them. That it will make a difference to a few readers who will eventually raise their voices louder than mine.
Perhaps even those modest hopes are in vain. A writer never knows. But if even a few of us stand strong against the de-masculinization of boys and men, we have a chance. Maybe it’s a chance of saving something very good in our society. Maybe it’s “only” a chance to restore something very good in some unknown, perilous future.
In closing, I want to emphasize again that I’m not advocating a return to tradition, especially any patriarchal tradition. I said it earlier-on: A world where men dominate and women’s strengths are artificially suppressed isn’t good for women OR men.
What’s good is balance. What’s good is recognizing the biological reality that men and women are different, but that neither is innately superior.
I shouldn’t have to say it, but there are vast differences within the sexes, too. There will always be mild, gentle men and warrior women. There will always be math-whiz girls and boys who want to play dress-up. There may be women who are meant to be expert iron workers, ditch diggers, or loggers (though I haven’t met them), just as there are men who may excel at social work or kindergarten teaching.
We all deserve meaningful opportunities to develop ourselves as we see fit. That means all of us will make mistakes, and some of us will make colossal mistakes (like paying a fortune for college degrees that will qualify us for burger flipping — until McDonalds replaces its burger flippers with robots). We need to be free to screw up — and learn that actions have real-life consequences. We also need to be free (and encouraged) to work hard, be smart, sacrifice for the future, take the raw material that is ourselves and make it better.
One of the great, sadly underappreciated joys of humanity is our true diversity (NOT the “diversity” that says everyone can look different but must think alike). But an absolute necessity of being human is recognizing and working with reality. The reality is that men and women are, on balance, biologically, physically, functionally, and temperamentally, different. Neither sex should devalue or attempt to de-nature the other.
Female virtues and abilities were too-long suppressed. Women are now ascendant and have been for decades, but using our newfound power to remake boys and men in our own image, to scorn them, or to deprive them of outlets for their own strengths is going to backfire — on men, on women, on everybody.
Vive la difference!