I have, on numerous occasions, pointed out that when it comes to manly men, Donald Trump does not make the list. Compared to great leaders like Eisenhower and MacArthur, Trump is a caricature of manliness. Machismo, si; manliness, no.
A manly man would inspire confidence. Trump provokes revulsion. His negative ratings are the highest on record. He has insulted and offended his way to front runner status and believes that the rest of the Republican Party will unite behind him. His flunkies have been threatening Republican Party delegates. Real men negotiate deals; macho men make a lot of noise and sell themselves. Real men are humble; macho men suffer from excessive hubris.
Naturally, those who are enamored of the Donald will have nothing of such disparaging words, but, in truth, Donald Trump is what manliness looks like in a feminized world.
I have argued this ad nauseam, so I had decided that perhaps it would be better to leave the issue alone. Of course, I always like to give people reason to fulminate, but sometimes, enough is enough.
This morning, however, I chanced upon an article by David French in National Review. In it French explains why so many misguided folk are flocking to Trump because they believe that he is the antidote to feminism. As it happens, I have been making the case against feminism for years now on this blog, so I do not believe that I am a late arrival to this cause.
The problem is that Trump does not make the case against feminism. He does not represent masculine values in any traditional or recognizable sense of the term. He is a living, breathing caricature of masculinity, the one that feminists have been trafficking all these many years. If Trump represents true manliness, then feminists are right about men. So says David French.
Put that one in your peace pipe and smoke it.
French lays out his argument:
Some Americans believe that Donald Trump is the answer to feminism. He’s the fearless man. He’s the strong man. He’s the man who laughs in the face of the social-justice warrior and demonstrates the appeal of pure, unadulterated aggression and virility. In reality, however, he’s a great gift to feminism: the man who will revive a failing ideology.
Feminism has created something like a degendered—or is it degenerate-- society. In Sweden they force schoolboys to pee sitting down, because peeing standing up is sexist. Feminists demean the traditional male role of provider or breadwinner because liberated women can provide for themselves. Of course, liberated women who can provide for themselves often have a great deal of difficulty finding a man who will play the properly feminine role in their relationship, but that is just a sign of entrenched societal sexism.
Obviously, some men continue to embody the traditional virtues. Others strike out against feminism by becoming the feminist caricature of masculinity.
Many more men are left confused, aimless, and often angry. They simply can’t and won’t conform to a genderless society. Absent exposure to those few American subcultures that still retain an understanding of distinctly virtuous masculinity, they live in a state of frustration, with many ultimately embracing negative stereotypes, living a life in full reaction against feminism. While not rapists, they are predators — seeking serial sexual conquests. While not criminals, they are bullies — using threats and swagger to get their way. Life is about winning, and women and money are the ways in which they keep score.
The masculinity of Trump is exactly the caricatured, counterfeit masculinity of the feminist fever dream. It takes the full energy of manhood and devotes it to sex, money, and power. It’s posturing masquerading as toughness and anger drained of bravery. (Is the man who recoils from Michelle Fields and obsesses over Megyn Kelly really going to take down ISIS?) Trump represents aggression channeled into greed. Apologies are for the weak, and self-sacrifice is for suckers. Trump is a kind of man that many people can recognize but none should emulate. He is the indefensible man.
Some of us have been suggesting—because we like to preach to empty choirs—that the Trump candidacy itself is a caricature, a counterfeit. As French suggests, real men do not obsess over Megyn Kelly. Real men do not show how tough they are by manhandling Michelle Fields.
It's the same in his politics. When a candidate does not possess the knowledge or the experience to do the job, when he has never really thought about the issues in question, when he declares openly that he will allow himself to be manipulated by his advisors, when he does even understand the nominating process you are not dealing with the real thing. If you think that a bloviating and blustering amateur will stride on to the world stage, will take command and will start pushing Putin and Xi Jinping around, you have been smoking the wrong kind of cigarettes.
French describes Trump’ supporters in less than flattering terms:
He has brought out of the woodwork a bloc of people who apparently believe that the answer to political correctness isn’t truth and virtue but rather becoming what the other side most hates. If the other side polices language, then the answer is vulgarity. If the other side embraces diversity, then the answer is flirtation with white nationalism and white-identity politics. If the other side tries to cast men as dangerous, sex-obsessed bullies, well then hoist the middle finger, glory in Trump’s apparent sexual and financial success, and relish the whining of feminists and “betas” everywhere.
Trump’s masculinity is a cheap counterfeit of the masculinity that’s truly threatening to the cultural Left: man not as predator but as protector, the “sheepdog” of American Sniper fame. This is the brave man, the selfless man who channels his aggression and sense of adventure into building a nation, an economy, and — yes — a family. This is the man who kicks down doors in Fallujah or gathers a makeshift militia to rush hijackers in the skies above Pennsylvania. Or, to choose a more mundane — though no less important — example: This is the man who packs up the household to take a chance on a new job, models strength for his family when life turns hard, teaches his son to stand against bullies on the playground, and lives at all times with dignity and honor.
How quaint: dignity and honor as masculine virtues. Not in the world of Trump.