The Left’s Attack on Manhood
Barack Obama is a president at odds with himself. On the one hand, he and his aides are carefully cultivating his new image as the gritty and decisive Commander-in-Chief, making the call to take out Osama bin Laden for the safety of untold Americans. On the other hand, his health care, stimulus, and other social spending sprees have made him the most intrusive Nanny-in-Chief since LBJ, though he is giving the author of the Great Society a run for his money. The incongruity is all the more telling when we cut through the rhetoric and bogus philosophy of the progressive state and actually figure out what the Left’s agenda is. It is quite simply a campaign to eliminate manhood.
Although I have taught and written on the subject of manhood for years, this truth did not become obvious to me until I read the autobiography of a one-time angry black youth. Filled with the leftist dogma he had been saturated with at a leading college, he asked his grandfather why—even in the middle of the Depression—the older man had not gone on public assistance. The grandfather, who could barely read and who would have been typecast by a sociologist as an upper-lower-class African American (and therefore the prime target of the Democrat party), offered one of the most profound comments ever made on the evils of the welfare state, deserving to be ranked among those of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. “Because it takes away your manhood.” That is, the man who gives up on himself—on his own industry, determination, intelligence, courage, and will—and lets the government take care of him in those matters government has no place, has simply lost the right to call himself a man. A man is by definition the being who takes care of himself and his family: who is independent and free and therefore has honor. The man who made that statement, by the way, was the grandfather of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
It is no accident that as we read statistics about the percentage of Americans on food stamps and accepting other transfer payments to be at an all-time high that mothers taking their children to the park on a weekday afternoon will find men in their twenties and thirties hanging around—sometimes with children, sometimes without—with no purpose or place to go. It is no accident that the economic slump we are in has accurately been called a he-cession owing to the dramatic increase in government jobs such as teachers and various levels of “health-care workers” and “social services” employees, contrasting with the dearth of work in manufacturing and other traditionally male occupations. To have a successful progressive state, you have to put men out of work and put them on the dole—or make them dependent on their wives and consorts. To this end, Lionel Tiger in his book with the chilling title The Decline of Males coined the phrase “bureaugamy,” referring to the marriage between the welfare state and single women, with men loitering on the outskirts, either in jail, engaged in crime, or hoping to receive some scraps off the government table.
That the Left is deliberately attempting to undermine the self-reliant spirit of manhood may seem like a crazy conspiracy theory to the uninitiated. But one need only consider the right arm of the progressive movement—public education—to realize the extent to which the least vestige of independent masculinity has been painstakingly eradicated from the lives of boys. As Christina Hoff Sommers and others have shown, boys are constantly put on Ritalin at the behest of teachers and “health-care professionals” in an effort to drug them into not just obedience but lifelessness; any books in the curriculum that contain accounts of action and war are replaced with tame tales of “ordinary” (i.e. boring) boys and girls or, more often, P. C. stories about living with two mommies or boys playing with dolls; and playgrounds are aggressively policed and even games such as dodge-ball are eliminated with the sole motive of keeping boys from being themselves.
Just recall what President Obama was doing a few weeks ago—before he transformed himself into the war leader. He was holding at the White House an anti-bullying summit. Bullying, in case you didn’t know, has become the public schools’ principal target (as opposed to, say, illiteracy). For some time schools have been conducting campaigns on bullying “awareness.” School counselors, those meddlesome sub-ministers of the Nanny State, are trained to counsel both the “victims of bullying” and bullies themselves, who are not so much villains as victims of what progressive experts on boys such as William Pollack dismiss as the obsolete “Boy Code.” The bad old “Boy Code pushes boys to feel they need to be tough, act strong, and lash out at another to defend their male honor.” To eliminate the Boy Code, several public schools have adopted a one-word solution to how to respond when confronted by a bully with no teachers in sight: surrender. That’s right, surrender, the mantra of emasculation. To this end, the federal government has set up an absurd anti-bullying website: www.stopbullying.gov. That such a site exists at all raises any number of questions. Does anyone actually believe that the Web is the place to go to figure out how to deal with bullying? How much money was taken out of the taxpayers’ pockets to put this together? How many executive departments were involved in its construction? (Answer: Three. The Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice.) And what in the world do these bureaucrats think fathers are for?
But the theme of the entire anti-bullying project and the progressive state itself can be found in the careful manipulation of a single word. Under the “advice for kids” section, to the question of what to do when confronted by a bully, the authoritative answer is given: “Don’t bully back.” Now, if you are being bullied by a bully, your taking a swing at him is not bullying. It is self-defense. The word that fell out of the equation, you see, is simply “fight.” The Boy Code taught boys who were being bullied to fight back. I clearly remember my father’s advice about bullies. First rule: When you see him coming, take the first swing (it may be the only one you get). Second rule: Don’t ever let him get you on the ground. Now this was practical advice! But progressive school counselors do not want boys to fight back. If boys did, the school counselors would be out of their job of counseling wimpy boys who feel bad about being bullied. So counselors belittle the Boy Code. Just so, the progressive bureaucrats belittle the Man Code, the code that tells men that going on the dole takes away their manhood. Because if that spirit were alive and well, progressive bureaucrats would have to leave off administering the transfer of wealth that is the Nanny State and get real jobs; that is, they would have to become men.
Which brings us to the men of Seal Team 6. Does any sensible person really imagine that these men when growing up as boys lived by the mealy-mouthed psycho-babble of the school counselor rather than by the honorable and clear dictates of the Boy Code? Does anyone think that the men of Seal Team 6—or any sailor, soldier, or Marine, for that matter—would fail to see through the nonsense (if their input was sought) of “Don’t bully back”? A page out of Twain will remind us what real boys are like and of the fight in men that made this country great.
Tom struck them [pennies] to the ground. In an instant both boys were rolling and tumbling in the dirt, gripped together like cats; and for the space of a minute they tugged and tore at each other’s hair and clothes, punched and scratched each other’s noses, and covered themselves with dust and glory.
Originally posted on bigpeace.com May 18, 2011