Thursday, December 20, 2012

Angry White Men

Christy Wampole sees the Sandy Hook massacre as a symptom of a larger social problem: the advent of the angry white male.

Wampole believes that white males have had a privileged status, but are now losing out to women and non-white males.

Of course, she fails to recognize the impact of Adam Lanza’s mental illness.

She also does not recognize the difference between rigging the game against white males and seeing white males lose to others in a fair competition.

Nevertheless, her evidence is compelling, even if anecdotal:

I come from a small town near Fort Worth, Texas. In this region, like many others across the United States, young men are having a very hard time of it. When I consider how all of the people I knew there are faring, including my own family members, the women have come out considerably better than the men. While many of the women were pregnant in high school and have struggled with abusive relationships, financial hardships and addictions, they’ve often found ways to make their lives work, at least provisionally, and to live with their children if not provide for them in more substantial ways.

The same cannot be said for many young men in the region, who are often absent fathers of multiple children by multiple women, unemployed or underemployed, sullen and full of rage. While every woman in my family has done O.K. in the end, every man on one side of my family except for my grandfather has spent time in jail, abused drugs or alcohol, suffered from acute depression, or all of the above. Furthermore, pervasive methamphetamine use, alcoholism, physical and psychological abuse and severe depression have swept not only my hometown and my region but large segments of the United States. If this pattern is not familiar to you personally, I am certain it is the lived experience of someone you know.

Wampole then indulges a bit of nostalgia for the old days when men were men:

They were once our heroes, our young and shining fathers, our sweet brothers, our tireless athletes, our fearless warriors, the brains of our institutions, the makers of our wares, the movers of our world. 

Wampole is an academic, so she is blind to the cause of this decline. She does not entertain the possibility that the decades long war on man has wreaked havoc on American culture. She does not have a sufficiently well-developed sense of irony to recognize that her wishes smack of pre-feminist nostalgia.

Somehow or other she does not know that everyone is forbidden to speak of men in gender-specific terms. Generic masculine pronouns have been replaced by pseudo-generic feminine pronouns.

And she missed the directive ordering everyone to call men and women persons. She does not even know that no socially-defined roles should ever again be specific to men.

When Wampole suggests that the problem can be solved by an extra dose of empathy, she shows that she has no idea what she is talking about.

When the school system is geared to reward those who have the most empathy and punish those who do not feel the right feelings, then it is being rigged against boys. If children are asked to tell how they feel and to write essays about how they feel, boys are being disadvantaged. If competitive striving is demeaned in favor of empty assertions of self-esteem, boys are being diminished. If girls are called on more often than boys, if girls are praised more often than boys... then boys are going to give up trying.

Allow me to be clear here. In principle, feminists believe in equality. They do not believe in rigging the game against men or women. They merely want women to have equal rights and an equal chance at career success.

So say many feminists. If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you will know that I have never confused feminism with the beliefs of individual feminists.

Getting lost in the ideological thickets is not the best way to evaluate modern or second-wave feminism.

Feminism functions like a cult. It needs to recruit adherents. It waters down its beliefs to draw unsuspecting young women into the fold.

Feminism is not the sum of its beliefs. Don’t judge feminism, or any other ideology by its tenets; judge it by its actions and the results its policies produce.

Feminism is an empowered ideology that has set down policy prescriptions for legislation and regulation. It has also set out personal policy prescriptions for the way individual women should conduct their lives. Feminism told women to postpone marriage and childbearing. Many, many women have followed this advice. If it hasn't worked out well or as advertised, the fault lies with feminism.

Through these policies feminism has produced a culture that, if we are to believe Wampole, is markedly hostile to men. This is true even if most feminists are not hostile to men.

To take an invidious comparison, Karl Marx once articulated a principle that began: “to each according to his needs….”

Regardless of whether you believe that an economy should allocate goods according to need, not achievement, we are within our rights to ask whether Marxist government policies provided for each according to his needs.

Here, the data is clear. Marxist governments have produced famine and starvation at unspeakable levels. The only real success that these governments have ever had is the number of people they have starved to death.   

Between them the Marxist Stalin and the Marxist Mao starved nearly fifty million people to death. In Marxist North Korea today people are starving to death.

Should Marxism be judged by its utopian presumption or its dystopian product?

Should feminism be judged by its utopian fantasies or by the dystopian culture it has fostered?

Let’s imagine that feminists did not want women to succeed at the expense of men. If their ideas have influenced the culture to rig, say, the school system against men, their hopes and dreams are irrelevant.

They and their ideology created the state of affairs. They should accept responsibility.

Whatever feminists believe, here is what their policies, in concert with other factors have produced.

Why is it that mass murderers are almost always young men?  Why don't young women behave the same way?  Sadly, Adam Lanza and James Holmes are just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem in our society.  Our young women vastly outperform our young men in almost every important statistical category.  Young men are much more likely to perform poorly in school, they are much more likely to have disciplinary problems and they are much more likely to commit suicide.  In the old days, our young men would gather in the streets or in the parks to play with one another after school, but today most of them are content to spend countless hours feeding their addictions to video games, movies and other forms of entertainment.  When our young men grow up, many of them are extremely averse to taking on responsibility.  They want to have lots of sex, but they aren't interested in marriage.  They enjoy the comforts of living at home, but they don't want to go out and pursue career goals so that they can provide those things for themselves.  Our young men are supposed to be "the leaders of tomorrow", but instead many of them are a major burden on society.  When are we finally going to admit that something has gone horribly wrong?

Michael continues to describe the war on men, the culture’s way of diminishing and demeaning everything that is associated with manhood.

But certainly parents and our education system have to bear much of the blame.  In the old days, young men were taught what it means to "be a man", and morality was taught to young men both by their parents and in the schools.  But today, most young men have very little understanding of what "manhood" is, and our society has taught them that morality doesn't really matter.  Instead, television and movies constantly portray young men as sex-obsessed slackers that just want to party all the time, so that is what many of our young men have become.

How much better off would our society be if we had trained this generation of young men to love, honor, protect and take care of others?

How much better off would our society be if we had nurtured the manhood of our young men instead of teaching them to be ashamed of it?

In truth, you cannot even use the word “manhood” without being attacked by feminists.

Surely, it begins in the schools and in homes. If schoolteachers have restructured the learning environment to favor skills in which girls excel and to disfavor skill sets where boys excel, you produce a world where boys fail, and where they do not even have the right to be boys.

The only place they can feel like boys is in front of a computer screen playing video games and watching porn.

Since both of these are potentially addictive, they make a boy into an avatar more than a real man.

Ask yourself this: when these boys get home, how many of them are supervised? How many of them are left to their own devices in the time between school and the arrival of a parent? How many of them use the internet as their babysitter?

And then there’s the absent father problem. If there is no father at home to discipline a boy and to set an example for him to emulate his behavior will become a negative caricature of masculinity.

And then, if his father is not the breadwinner, a boy will not aspire to become a man who can protect and provide for his family.

Boys do not want to grow up to be strong career women. One of the best ways to promote manly behavior in boys is for them to see it at home.

If his father works, even if his father works a great deal, the child will happily set out doing his own work: because he will want to grow up to be a man like his father.

If his father is a slacker, he will also emulate his father. He will not want to grow up to be a strong career woman. 

Take the case of Adam Lanza. Not having a father at home he had expressed a wish to join the Marines.

His mother thought it a bad idea, so she talked him out of it. 

But, think about it. If he was not psychotic, then joining the Marines might have helped him.

Even if it was a bad fit, shouldn’t Mary Lanza have left the decision to her son and the Marines?

If he was psychotic, then perhaps the Marine psychiatrists would have figured out what was wrong with him.  No one else did.


JP said...

"And then there’s the absent father problem. If there is no father at home to discipline a boy and to set an example for him to emulate his behavior will become a negative caricature of masculinity."

This is something that a lot of people miss.

Sam L. said...

Liberals become illiberal and progressives get really regressive if or when they are judged on outcomes. "Why" is self-evident.

The only male on one side with no jail time, etc., is her grandfather. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

David Foster said...

Doris Lessing:

"I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives."

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Wow!!Thank you....

Anonymous said...

Good thing we "liberated" these little darlings, such soft creatures they. If the problem is "anger," then you can simply alleviate it by ending the offending behavior leading to the alleged "anger."