Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Are American Boys Broken?

It’s always nice to see history repeating itself. You might not recall, but the year 1212 has gone down in history for what was called the Children’s Crusade. It was a real crusade, launched by European children, to win back the Holy Land from Muslim invaders. It didn’t work. None of the crusaders ever reached the Holy Land, but it counts as the first children’s movement.

Now, we are seeing our own version of the Children’s Crusade. High school students are mobilizing to fight for more gun control laws. Since no one seems to be willing to enforce those that we have, surely more gun control laws will not stop gun violence. When it doesn't another children's crusade will tell us that we need more gun control laws. It takes a high school level mind to believe that it’s easier to control 300 million guns than it is to control a couple of dozen schizophrenics and psychopaths.

We can argue about whether it is better to get our marching orders from high school students or from stand-up comics who aren’t funny. But, since government, federal, state and local failed to enforce the laws and regulations that are already on the books, you might think that these children would crusade against incompetent government or even against leniency about involuntary commitment. 

But no, they have been swept up in the anti-Trump mania and are allowing themselves to be used as a cudgel against the president. Were any children out marching when lunatics, maniacs and terrorists shot up schools and nightclubs and council meetings during the Clinton and Obama administrations? You do not even need to think to answer that question.

In the meantime, USA Today asks another salient question: are American boys broken? Since all of the mass shootings share one characteristic—they were all perpetrated by males—it makes some sense to ask whether there is something wrong with boys.

The thought comes to us from a comedian:

… comedian Michael Ian Black started a thread on Twitter that sparked a vitriolic debate about the role of gender in gun violence. It began with the tweet, "Deeper even than the gun problem is this: boys are broken." 

Black's tweet has been liked nearly 65,000 times. In an interview with NPR on Sunday, he elaborated.

"I think it means that there is something going on with American men that is giving them the permission and space to commit violence," he said. "And one of the main things we focus on correctly is guns and mental health, but I think deeper than that is a problem, a crisis in masculinity."

Naturally, USA Today, being politically correct in the woke sense, folds the issue into a debate about toxic masculinity. This suggests that boys need to get in touch with their feminine side, to enhance their capacity for empathy and to be kinder and gentler.

And yet, if we know one thing, it’s this. If leftists believe that feminism is the solution, the truth is that feminism is the problem. If you ask who broke boys or why boys are broken, you might turn to Christina Hoff Sommers’ book The War Against Boys

Thanks the feminist schoolteachers, in particular, boys have been beaten down at school. And of course, the lean in movement tells girls to adopt a macho posture that threatens boys. Even Sheryl Sandberg knows that leaning in provokes pushback. But, be assured, if a girl provokes a boy, a teenager with nascent moral faculties, you might not just receive pushback You might be hit back.

Does the culture have other ways to beat down boys and men? It denounces them as toxic, it declares their willingness to protect women from harm a sign of oppression. Oh, and by demonizing their wish to own guns… ultimately to restrict their access to guns. For my part I have nothing against sensible restrictions on gun ownership. Of course, we already have sensible restrictions on gun ownership. And if Nikolas Cruz was able to buy a gun because mental health professionals, state social service agents and the local sheriff’s office had not tagged him as a danger… well then, perhaps we ought to be more agitated about incompetent government.

In truth, guns are a guy thing. Surely, many women own guns, but the symbolism of guns is distinctly manly. And if feminists continue to disrespect all outward signs of manliness, if they try to beat boys into becoming girls, then boys will only be able to express their masculinity in more toxic ways.

I recall an experience that Doris Lessing had in Great Britain many years ago. She was visiting a class of 9 and 10 year olds and observed how the female teachers were treating the boys in the room. Lessing is more of a feminist than most of the junior league feminists who rant away in the media, so her observations take on a special poignancy. Count her among the few progressives who have enough integrity to see things as they are.

These remarks date from 2001. We read them in the Guardian:

Young boys were being weighed down with guilt about the crimes of their sex, she told the Edinburgh book festival, while energy which could be used to get proper child care was being dissipated in the pointless humiliation of men.

"I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed," the 81-year-old Persian-born writer said yesterday.

"Great things have been achieved through feminism. We now have pretty much equality at least on the pay and opportunities front, though almost nothing has been done on child care, the real liberation.

"We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men?

"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."

Lessing said the teacher tried to "catch my eye, thinking I would approve of this rubbish".

She added: "This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place and no one says a thing.

"It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not.

"It is time we began to ask who are these women who continually rubbish men. The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests. 

 "Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did."

You remember the old saying: Be careful what you wish for…. Feminist icon Doris Lessing was ringing the tocsin of alarm nearly two decades ago. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears.


Jack Fisher said...

I'm not too worried about what high skool kids think. this a fad that will last a week.

As to whether boys are "weak", can't tell based on anecdotal evidence in an opinion piece, but I suspect boys pay as much attention to this kind of shrieking as they to to any other teechur, that is, not much. If this makes boys weak in the way the article suggests, we'd see a lot of school age shooters, instead of a few lunatics.

Besides, biology will take care of this. Boys will figure out that chicks dig the guy in the letterman jacket and the Thunder Road Mustang over the loser in the self-driving prius. The Marines will always get their gung ho quota and the NFL will have no shortage of roid-rage monsters.

I'm not saying this about present company but I swear to the gods conservative blogs often seem inhabited by whiners genuinely afraid of libtard gun grabbing wetdreams. You never read someone saying, "F' these libdouches. My daughter shoots her granddad's nazi-killing Springfield, and besides, Heller held that the 2d Amendment at its core protects the right to self defense and weapons that have been commonly used by the citizens for that purpose, and that includes the AR-15."

Educate yourself about how the 2d Amendment works, understand that the big battles are at the fringes of the 2d Amendment, not at its core, and don't be a conservative snowflake.

Sam L. said...

There's also fairly easy divorce, separating boys from their fathers.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I’m with Jack. Second Amenment law is clear. Finally. Thankfully.

If you haven’t read the SCOTUS opinion on Heller, read it. It is wildly enlightening.

Ares Olympus said...
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Ares Olympus said...

I see Trump is calling for bump stocks to be banned. I wonder who got his ear for that? I wonder who will get his ear and change his mind again tomorrow?

I don't know about the mind of boys these days, but I admit I'm surprised Cruz feels remorse at his crime. If I felt an overwhelming need to shoot up 32 classmates, you can be sure I'd save one last bullet for my own head, although that's must be a little harder with an AR-15 I suppose.

I wonder how long it takes for death row when there is undeniable proof of your crime? What sort of peace you do make with God before you're put to death for such a crime? Certainly mental illness can't ever be a defense against premeditated mass murder.

How do we maximize shame for a mass murderer? What is in the mind of a future mass murderer? Do they think "Maybe I can kill more than Cruz and get my name in the news?" Do they aspire to becoming new legends like Jesse James and Bonny and Clyde? Do they hope someday movies will be made out of their dastardly exploits? (If so, they need to work on their story-line, since killing defenseless kids doesn't seem that impressive.)

Anonymous said...

It’s toxic masculinity. Whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

AO: “How do we maximize shame for a mass murderer?”

Execute them.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I’m waiting for someone to define “toxic femininity.” If we’re equal, then there should be a female equivalent. Curious how there is not. I should like to read/hear/see it identified and described. Not holding my breath for when we see that in the mainstream press.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: In truth, guns are a guy thing. Surely, many women own guns, but the symbolism of guns is distinctly manly. And if feminists continue to disrespect all outward signs of manliness, if they try to beat boys into becoming girls, then boys will only be able to express their masculinity in more toxic ways.

I see, the more "masculine" behavior is demeaned, the more toxic masculine behavior will results. Boys and men who feel weak will tend to exaggerate their apparent strength to compensate. And this often works since we assume a person who acts like a bully has the will to back it up with action if his bark is challenged.

And Jack's right, big cars with big engines seems manly, but I'm still surprised at time of my aggression even on a little bicycle when a car cuts me off or tells me to get on the sidewalk, even from a Prius. But I don't think giving someone the finger is particularly masculine. That old reptilian brain is in both sexes.

I can't say why feminists words haven't frightened me into overtly toxic behavior. Mostly I don't bother argue with apparent feminists, but if I'm bored I will try to fact-check their claims, just to see what I can learn. I can thank Rush Limbaugh who taught me well when he said "Never trust the facts of people with causes." He just should have added "...especially when you think you probably agree."

And my men's group, http://mankindproject.org , taught me about the Awareness wheel, with a progression from Observation to Evaluation to Feeling. So in this model our feelings are not based on facts, but our interpretation of facts which contain layers of filters and assumptions built on top of the facts. So perhaps toxic masculinity and toxic femininity both fail to see interpretations are always provisional.

Overall I think men have a huge advantage in conflict, not because we're stronger, but because we're not afraid of getting physical when needed. You learn a lot more about yourself when you trust you know how to escalate and deescalate conflict, and how to troll and make the other guy look like he can't control himself.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, here's one heroic attempt, but for solutions he just asks women to spend more time looking inward??? Maybe coincidentally the parallel program to mankindproject.org is called womanwithin.org .

Here are ten characteristics of toxic femininity:
1. Male-directed anger and paranoia
2. Transference neurosis
3. Gender manipulation
4. Emotional detachment
5. Female victimization
6. The “superwoman” delusion
7. Female self-hatred
8. Avoidance of accountability
9. Vicious competition with other women
10. Female martyr syndrome

Jack Fisher said...

what's next? AO's outreacharound?

Anonymous said...

AO: Funny that you had to go to a Dauly Beast opinion piece. No academic literature or established news story on it. Now do a query on toxic masculinity. Thousands and thousands. These ideas are purely political.

Walt said...

Not long after Lessing observed this--in the early '00s--a friend of mine observed something similar in NYC. Having written a popular series of children's books, she was invited to talk to 4th and 5th graders at an east side Manhattan public school. She thought the children were particularly bright and engaged, asked intelligent questions, and had a fine sense of humor and at the end of the class went up to the teacher to say so. The teacher responded by spitting out with a surprising degree of venom: I HATE the boys. (That story has stayed with both her, snd me)

Anonymous said...

Walt @February 21, 2018 at 7:06 AM:

There are quite a number of women who feel this way, including those responsible for the nurturing, development and education of boys/men.

I believe what my next question to her (if I'd been there) is more important: "What is it that you hate about them?"

I suspect their answer would be a list of things that are natural and part of the development process from boyhood to manhood, and manhood as a result. Therefore, what she hates is men. Therefore, she hates something that is perfectly predictable and natural growth/maturing process.

To hate WHAT IS is the basis for unhappiness, and offers few if any good solutions. I continue to believe that Leftists (and their sub-genres, like feminism) are at war with the human condition, and cannot be with the natural tension of the way things are versus an imaginary view of how they should be... that is completely divorced from reality. Good luck with that.

I am confident the teacher is profoundly unhappy. And she's in good company. And these are the people who tell us to love nature, love science and love one another... that we should "bring people together." No self-awareness.


Sam L. said...

Feministas demonstrate toxic femininity.

Walt said...

@ Anonymous, 7:23
I agree that utopianism and the idea of The Perfectibility of Practically Everything (according to the utopian's notion of Perfect) is a hallmark of "progressivism," but I think something else is afoot with this new strident feminism, though it beats hell out of me as to what it is. On the old question, "Dear God, what do they want?" I think by now even They don't know. Something to do with power that misunderstands power? A victory over men that's bound to be pyrrhic? Some projection of self-hatred? The women who wailed about Harvey Weinstein (an unquestionable lout) nonetheless gave in to him, as they did to Charlie Rose and etc, but take no ownership of having given in. Maybe it's that penchant in themselves that they hate and mistakenly think they can eradicate by deballing men. Anybody got any cogent theory?

Ares Olympus said...

I see a new article today on the subject:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/opinion/boys-violence-shootings-guns.html The Boys Are Not All Right
What do these shootings have in common? Guns, yes. But also, boys. Girls aren’t pulling the triggers. It’s boys. It’s almost always boys. America’s boys are broken. And it’s killing us.

I recall one other explanation, and maybe it offers some clarity. We know boy babies are more likely to die in a miscarriage. We know boy infants are more likely to be sicky and die after birth. And nature actually provides for this, since there are more male babies conceived than girl babies. And boys are also generally more exploratory than girls and do more reckless things of the sort "Darwin awards" are given for people who get themselves killed before reproducing.

And if you look at the statistical bell curves of intelligence of males and females, the means are very close, but the variance of intelligence of boys is wider, so there are more boys with IQs below 80, and more boys with IQs above 120. And its not as if God wants lots of unintelligent boys and stupid men, but rather this seems to be the cost of being male, or maybe at least high intelligence isn't the only feature needed in being a successful male, although in the modern world, the options for lower intelligence males to earn high incomes honestly has decreased significantly.

So when we say "The boys are not alright", what it means is the standards of success for the modern boy work very well if he's intelligence and ambitious, and less well if he can't keep up with his peers and believes he's stupid, and then he still has to find something he's good at, something to draw attention to himself as worthy for consideration.

So maybe boys do need to be raised differently than girls, to become successful adults, but there must also be a dilemma how to integrate ALL the boys, so no SINGLE measure of self esteem is put above others, and every boy can find his own mastery that gives him pride, so when destructive or violent impulses arise in him, he will be able to resist and redirect that frustrated energy towards something better.

And maybe that's where the claimed african proverb comes from "If you do not initiate your young men into the tribe, they will come back and burn down the village just to feel the heat."

autothreads said...

And maybe that's where the claimed african proverb comes from "If you do not initiate your young men into the tribe, they will come back and burn down the village just to feel the heat."

In our tribe we treat 13 year old boys as equals to men. With that status comes responsibility for their own actions. It seems to me that there is a lot of wisdom in that.