2003 August 15 Friday
Will Increasing National Security Threats Restore Status Of Masculinity?

An interesting Frontpage Magazine-American Enterprise symposium conducted by Jamie Glazov with anthropologist Lionel Tiger, Michael Ledeen, and David Gutmann is on the topic The Return of Manhood

Interlocutor: Why do you think that the male professions in question fell out of favor with American elites during the dark 1970s?

Bowman: They actually fell out of favor much earlier than that. Almost all the worst features of the 1960s and 1970s were anticipated in the 1920s, and the disfavor into which masculine honor fell then was owing to the slaughter of the First World War and the simultaneous rise of feminism and psychotherapy. The discredit these developments brought to masculine honor was offset by the need for it during the Second World War, though it was very different then from what it had been 25 years earlier. But the brief swing back towards tradition of the 1950s was undone by the same culprits in a new guise: the dirtiness of counter-insurgency warfare, second-wave feminism and the romance of victimhood, especially with post-traumatic stress disorder, a new and poetical illness that, seemingly, everyone who had been to Vietnam (and a great many who had not) wanted to claim for themselves.

Tiger: Elites are surely principally interested in what interests them - other elites, their money, their jobs, their housing, their associations. Beat cops and corporals have rarely been the foci of interest and admiration of elites, especially females, because they promise little in the way of resources, status, fun, and opportunities for children. As well, the training and disposition of those in the lower echelons of the male professions were relatively thin and, yes, macho.

Now, however, soldiers and policeman are more sophisticated, operate more and costlier equipment, and are clearly more than trench-diggers or bouncers. So there's been an upgrade of occupational tone of especially indigenous working males while the muckwork of the world is increasingly performed by immigrants who don't figure in any of this palaver for at least 20 years of their American residence. Traditional concepts of sex were changed into skeltonless notions of "gender" and a vast and successful tsunami of bad science about the social construction of sex as well as everything else - to say nothing of the bizarre separation of the social from the natural sciences - squashed any empirical naturalism on the subject. It has been Lysenko at his most effective.

Eventually the evidence of average biological differences in cognitive processes of males and females will become so large that the radical egalitarian feminist idelogues will have to retreat from some of their ridiculous positions. Though their retreat will probably be to a position that basicaly claims that, yes, men and women are different but in ways that reflect poorly on men. We can see where that line of thinking will lead from a comment by Tiger:

The school system tries to remould males and doesn't do so well. Hence only 43% of college students are male, 9 times as many males as females are victims of Ritalin which is an effort to turn them behaviorally into females.

Advances in the biological science of human nature may well intensify the ideological battle in American society as factions battle over which kinds of behavioral tendencies should be undermined with pharmacology and genetic engineering.

As for whether the masculine qualities will come to have a higher status: it depends on how the war against terrorism goes. If there are a few more big terrorist attacks in the United States that will do more to change the popular view of men than any reasoned debate could accomplish. Academia is rotten and, since existing professors make tenure decisions about new professors, it is likely to stay that way. Quite simply, academia lacks mechanisms for self-correction.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 15 12:44 AM  Human Nature

Pat R said at May 27, 2004 8:10 PM:

If this email is still working, a few comments about your article.

The problem with men is not that they need to be rooted in the macho domain of war and terrorism, but that they have shirked their duties in performance of the traditional "dirty" work that women don't like to do.

Once women could count upon men as protectors, but more importantly upon the fact that they were more familiar with and didn't mind literally getting "dirty;" there are a few men who still don't mind, but most are among the blue collar workers who work on roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. Very few are now farmers, for example.

Men have always been valued for their braun, as well they should, since it is God given, and distinguishes them from females.

Many men now are less enchanted therefore with being male, and would prefer the cleaner jobs that were once relegated to women in large numbers. The disaster of reducing the manufacturing environment took away the macho man insignia and much of his dynamism along with it. For men who now work in the white collar field, most are unwilling even to change a diaper, much less do the harsher or dirtier jobs at home. They have become immune to the desire of women to maintain the difference of distinctions, and themselves, often conduct themselves as women used to.

Wars will not restore the charisma nor the respect of women because women are adamantly opposed to war, by and large, and sense that as in many other things, the person who must resort to force is little more than the weakest person around because of the inability to prevent violence, and negotiate. Women have not abandoned men; far from it. It is men who have abandoned themselves and the characters that were once so easy for women to admire - the humble, willing, and earthy male who was comfortable with himself and others who did not require violence to survive.

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