How to Save Men
Written by Samuel D. James |
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
The recovery of American masculinity will be a counterrevolution of dignity, encouraging men to embrace their God-given strength, competitiveness, and desire for meaning as signposts pointing them toward a rich life of worship, temperance, and self-sacrifice.
The firebrand gender philosopher Camile Paglia once famously declared that there is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper. Provocative as always, Paglia’s point is that, historically speaking, the extremes of human achievement—both superlative genius and murderous sociopathy—tend to be occupied by men. Society, Paglia argues, must therefore pay close attention to masculinity because the stakes are particularly high. The trajectory of the American male over the past few decades is proving Ms. Paglia unnervingly correct.
Conservatives have often sensed an anti-masculine bias in elite spaces of journalism, higher education, and pop culture. This was the animating spirit in a recent speech by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to the National Conservatism Conference. Hawley’s talk, titled “The Future of the American Man,” eloquently summarized many concerns that religious and traditionalist Americans have about contemporary masculinity.
Hawley pointed out that record numbers of young men are failing to graduate, work, or marry, and that this constitutes a genuine social crisis. Moreover, as Hawley observed, the emerging generation of American men do not seem to have a definite vision for their lives. Vocational ambition and community leadership are increasingly ceded to women, as many twenty and thirtysomething men languish in inactive lifestyles dominated by video games and pornography.
These are trends conservatives certainly should be talking about, and Hawley should be commended for talking so transparently about them. But if “The Future of the American Man” gets the symptoms correct, it names the disease only in part. Throughout the speech, Hawley casts the current plight of masculinity on “the Left,” arguing that third-wave feminism’s misandry is at the heart of Democratic and progressive policies, and thus, the primary agent of this crisis.