The War on Men

 

shutterstock_162854771You don’t have to be a “revolutionary” presidential candidate to know that there’s something seriously wrong about the way boys are growing into men in this country.

Most of the media is obsessed with fraternities, creepy boys with “affluenza,” and lax brosMost of that reporting follows a familiar template: bad (white) boys and their victims. It’s a reliably monotonous litany because that frees them from the responsibility of looking at what happens to (mostly non-white) boys who grow up in poor neighborhoods. Short answer: nothing much good. From Citylab:

How adults in the U.S. fare economically depends, to a large extent, on the quality of the neighborhoods they grew up in. But boys and girls who live right down the street from each other don’t always end up, economically speaking, in the same place. And that’s most likely because their childhood environments affect them differently, a new working paper by economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues finds, with boys having an especially tough time.

None of this is surprising. But still:

Differences between men’s and women’s employment rate, income level, and college enrollment at age 30 all varied based on the income and marital status of their parents, but the gender gap in employment varied most starkly. Among those whose parents were in the bottom fifth of income distribution when they were young, the 30-year-old men were less likely to have a job than the women. This was especially true if these boys were raised by a single parent.

The paper — and the post it’s based on — go on to make a lot of lefty-sounding points. The research, however, is pretty clear, though we all might draw different conclusions from it. Yes, the incarceration rates are higher in those neighborhoods. Yes, those neighborhoods are more likely to be, essentially, segregated. But it still gets back to this sentence:

This was especially true if these boys were raised by a single parent.

And what do we see in the culture, in the community, in the halls of left-wing city governments and left-wing federal offices? An obsession with everything but the root problem: families have been torn up by federal and state programs that encourage broken, scattered, fatherless families.

The question is, are those boys in trouble because their fathers are absent or in jail? Or are those men in jail because their fathers were absent?

Either way, one thing we should all agree on: whatever we’re currently doing in under-privileged neighborhoods we should stop doing. Whatever we’re currently focusing our time and energy and resources to we should stop doing.

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  1. St. Salieri Member
    St. Salieri
    @

    It also ignores the tragic lives of poor white boys, from failing 1950/70s suburbs, small towns, and former industrial communities in the rust-belt, upper-midwest plains, Appalachia, Indian reservations, and our rotting cities.  Who are also by-products of the horrors of the welfare-industrial-bureaucratic complex.

    Single mothers, plus welfare, plus the drug and alcohol culture, plus no meaningful employment, plus schools that are a complete waste of time for them = slugs, fugs, and thugs.  Applies equally to all races, creeds, ethnic groups, and national regions.  Why we can’t talk about this toxic mix in our national politics and media appalls me.

    • #1
  2. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    A large and increasing part of the problem is that we expect boys to behave like girls and get upset when they don’t.

    If you’re interested in this area you could do worse than listening to the well-known feminist Christina Hoff Sommers.

    You could also listen to Milo Yiannopoulous but he’s, er, NSFR (Not Safe For Ricochet).

    • #2
  3. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    We need a religious revival, and a reform of manners.

    Once I heard the late, great Victor Frankl talking about his admiration for America and its Statue of Liberty off the east coast. “I would like to put a Statue of Responsibility off the west coast.”

    He nailed it. Responsibility is the moral corollary of freedom. You can’t keep the latter if you don’t cultivate the former.

    • #3
  4. SoDakBoy Inactive
    SoDakBoy
    @SoDakBoy

    Rob Long:Either way, one thing we should all agree on: whatever we’re currently doing in under-privileged neighborhoods we should stop doing. Whatever we’re currently focusing our time and energy and resources to we should stop doing.

    Yes.  Unfortunately, this will be incredibly hard to do because it involves relatively short term pain and delayed gratification.  When I say “relatively short-term”, I am thinking about 25 years because it took about 50 years of bad political and familial choices to get into this situation.

    Do we have the stomach to practice tough love that is that tough?

    • #4
  5. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Agree, agree, agree.

    From my book, Anchor & Flares:

    “Throughout human history, men have been more likely than women to be absent from the lives of their children. Premature death from all causes (other than childbirth) was and still is more common in men, as are parental abandonment, incarceration, and jobs that demand prolonged separation (fighting Canaanites, say, or Nazis). So it shouldn’t surprise us that, one way and another, the lack of a dad is a fairly common feature of the human biography. The fathers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson all died when their sons were young, and both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama experienced early father-absence.

    Since father-absence is so common, and since so many people have been successful in spite of it, one could conclude that dads aren’t actually all that necessary to the well-being and eventual thriving of a child.

    This is not, however, the conclusion reached by the people of the ancient Near East. In the Hammurabi Code of ancient Sumer, in the instructions of Egypt’s pharaoh Ramesses III, and in the Hebrew Bible, fathers matter. These texts were probably written by men and those men weren’t too likely to declare themselves disposable. In addition to affirming the benefits of a father-present childhood, however, the Scriptures were clear: the quality of care extended to the fatherless had better be good if the chosen people wished to maintain a strong, life-giving relationship with their choosy God.

    Words were not minced: in the book of Exodus (22: 22–24), God warns, “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword!”

    When the Hebrew prophets list the causal factors for the decline of Israel’s overall strength and vitality, “vexing the fatherless” is emphasized. Abandon vulnerable individuals, they seem to be saying, and the community as a whole will be rendered vulnerable if not to a divine sword then to the far more realistic threat of a Babylonian blitzkrieg.

    My children taught me that children who don’t have a father ache for one. It’s not hard to see how this unrequited longing could make a fatherless child easy prey for gangs, cults, and other predators. One could therefore assume that throughout history, fatherless children have been more prone to the kinds of repeated trauma that would adversely impact the kind of adults they eventually would become, which would consequently impact the effect they would have on their community and, ultimately, on civilization.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Flares-Memoir-Motherhood-Service/dp/0316373788/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455027838&sr=8-1&keywords=Anchor+and+Flares

    • #5
  6. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    There are a lot of problems I’d like to nominate for “the single biggest,” but this one generally comes out on top.  It’s also one that I find easiest to stand up for among liberals–right up there with its cousin, failed, corrupt government schools.  This culture is indefensible. Preach it, Brother Rob.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    In her interview with William Galston, Mona Charen discussed with him that not only the poor are at risk in single parent families: all children raised in single parent households, across economic lines, are at risk. And the left and right researchers are agreeing on this!

    • #7
  8. SoDakBoy Inactive
    SoDakBoy
    @SoDakBoy

    Kate Braestrup:Agree, agree, agree.

    From my book, Anchor & Flares:

    “Throughout human history, men have been more likely than women to be absent from the lives of their children. Premature death from all causes (other than childbirth) was and still is more common in men, as are parental abandonment, incarceration, and jobs that demand prolonged separation (fighting Canaanites, say, or Nazis). So it shouldn’t surprise us that, one way and another, the lack of a dad is a fairly common feature of the human biography. The fathers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson all died when their sons were young, and both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama experienced early father-absence.

    Since father-absence is so common, and since so many people have been successful in spite of it, one could conclude that dads aren’t actually all that necessary to the well-being and eventual thriving of a child.

    Your examples are very telling.  Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson died whereas Clinton, Obama and the near-majority of today’s young men were abandoned by their fathers.  Of course, they may have been kicked out against their will by the mother, but the fact remains that the boy knows his father chose to leave.

    • #8
  9. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    Careful, Rob.  You might start sounding like a social conservative.

    But seriously, thanks Rob.  Good stuff.  We should be able to celebrate the dignity and worth of both men and women without denigrating either, or tearing apart social structures that have served us well down the generations.

    • #9
  10. Benjamin Glaser Inactive
    Benjamin Glaser
    @BenjaminGlaser

    Men served a function in society which they held for thousands of years. But the combination of mechanical innovation in farm and factory, which has made brute labor unnecessary, and the dethroning of husband as head of the household has allowed men to be removed from their necessarily limiting helper and engage in their base desires unhindered from responsibility.

    On the former there is not much that can be done to luddite society away from a service economy to a labor one, nor is that necessarily wanted.

    On the later while also a function of successful discoveries (the pill and routine abortion being the two biggest drivers) it cannot be dealt with by easy and simple solutions. We must see the feminist victories for the defeats that they are. Though this is unpalatable for many, especially for the daughters of the daughters of the 1960’s. Men must return to their natural and God-given place as the head, to quote the Apostle Paul here:

    Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

    This is the natural order. And any society which denies it faces its own defeat.

    • #10
  11. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Thank you for this post, Rob. There are many things which need to be done to address the problems boys and men are having; I find a small ray of hope in the fact that even most young liberal women are rejecting Hillary Clinton, and are outraged over the suggestion that they should vote for her over Bernie simply because she is a woman. When Madeline Albright is basically telling younger women to go to hell if they won’t vote for Hillary, and younger women are telling her to go to hell right back, that has to be good. It’s better than nothing; we have to find hope where we can :)

    • #11
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    There is not one problem in this great nation that a increased childbirth in wedlock would not make better.

    • #12
  13. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Solving the problem of fatherless boys is hard. Walking around yelling “Hands up, don’t shoot,” is easy.

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    screenshot.5

    • #14
  15. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    The corollary to this fine post is the failure of men, from the poorest neighborhoods to the ranks of the GOP contenders for president, to object strenuously to the shocking idea of using our women as our protectors, as soldiers.  Drafting women to defend our country, a duty always honorably undertaken by men, is abhorrent and indicative of deep-seated moral decay.  The idea of using our women as combatants flies in the face of history and reality as far back as documented.

    The good news is that this imbroglio helps immensely to winnow the still too-crowded field of candidates.

    Abdication of male responsibility to protect our families, especially in this extreme case of war, is immoral and a sign of irreversible decay of our western civilization.  Too strongly stated?  I and many of my brothers-in-arms don’t think so.  We don’t subscribe to collective guilt, but do suffer from painful embarrassment.

    • #15
  16. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Is it a natural progression from the hippie generation of the 60’s ? I hate to say it, but they didn’t make great parents – so many kids today are products of divorce and single parenting as you said – grew up with drugs, and not having a healthy father role model.

    I was talking to an appliance tech – very young, while he repaired a stove at a client’s house. He said he stopped attending spring break (in Panama City Beach where he lives) because it has become the most vulgar, disgusting event – not fun at all. He told me his girlfriend is the responsible one – that his generation of men are lazy….not kidding! He was nice, clean cut, but talk about a reality check.

    I also noticed boys of affluence are also low achievers, sloppy and crude, their views on women, so society is teaching this – What is interesting are the traditional families where the father is a skilled laborer – we have a lot of construction here in FL – the boys help out, show up on the job and learn, there’s not as much time for cell phones and playing video games. Just an observation – but it is hard to parent these days – so many unhealthy influences.

    • #16
  17. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Man With the Axe:Solving the problem of fatherless boys is hard. Walking around yelling “Hands up, don’t shoot,” is easy.

    “Hands up, don’t shoot” is just another example of cheap and faux moral superiority clothed as caring.  Poseurs.

    It sure is hard to reduce the number of fatherless kids, and actually impossible, without a return to Christian moral principles.  Figure out how to increase the percentage of moral people in our society and problems such as fathering bastards are reduced nearly automatically by personal shame.  Sin is real, with consequences.

    • #17
  18. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Tom Riehl:The corollary to this fine post is the failure of men, from the poorest neighborhoods to the ranks of the GOP contenders for president, to object strenuously to the shocking idea of using our women as our protectors, as soldiers. Drafting women to defend our country, a duty always honorably undertaken by men, is abhorrent and indicative of deep-seated moral decay. The idea of using our women as combatants flies in the face of history and reality as far back as documented.

    The good news is that this imbroglio helps immensely to winnow the still too-crowded field of candidates.

    Abdication of male responsibility to protect our families, especially in this extreme case of war, is immoral and a sign of irreversible decay of our western civilization. Too strongly stated? I and many of my brothers-in-arms don’t think so. We don’t subscribe to collective guilt, but do suffer from painful embarrassment.

    I agree with you – I cannot imagine being a mom and knowing my daughter was in combat – especially in areas that have no respect for women like certain regions of the Middle East. The roles of both sexes bring balance to each other but they are not the same – physically, mentally or emotionally.

    • #18
  19. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Tom Riehl: The corollary to this fine post is the failure of men, from the poorest neighborhoods to the ranks of the GOP contenders for president, to object strenuously to the shocking idea of using our women as our protectors, as soldiers. Drafting women to defend our country, a duty always honorably undertaken by men, is abhorrent and indicative of deep-seated moral decay. The idea of using our women as combatants flies in the face of history and reality as far back as documented.

    To paraphrase Ed Koch “The feminists have spoken … and they must be punished.”

    • #19
  20. Jennifer Johnson Inactive
    Jennifer Johnson
    @JenniferJohnson

    Was using the legal system to make men/dads optional in marriage and family life part of the war on men?

    • #20
  21. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Rob,

    I think you have hit upon the underlying domestic problem that this society faces. I take a very deep view of this. For me it starts over 100 years ago as social science began to exert its will. First, they lionized the nuclear family. We wouldn’t want Grandma & Grandpa to hang around to influence the kids with their old beliefs. By the 1950s the nuclear family was anointed as the family and the strong solidifying influence of a third generation was marginalized to oblivion. Now we were prepared for the next phase attack. From the 1970s on the nuclear family itself is under attack. Why be burdened with a permanent family? They’re just holding you back from all that excitement out there. Yep, women don’t be full-time mothers to ensure the next generation is raised well. Hey guys you can do better than this why don’t you trade up. Finally, the hell with heterosexual monogamy entirely. It’s just a social construct. Love & freedom are the weasel words, lust & greed are the reality.

    You got it 100% Rob. None of the problems get solved until we take a new attitude to the family. Oh yeah, it’s really an old attitude but I won’t tell if you don’t.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
  22. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    If we prized the gift and mystery of motherhood as we should, no one would dream of sending women into combat. Even single women would be seen and cherished as potential mothers and as bearing the gifts of spiritual maternity regardless of whether they ever have physical children.

    But I want to make another point, expanding on the one I wrote above. Better laws can restrain bad actors, eliminate perverse incentives, and provide rewards for responsible living, but they can’t make men (or women) good.

    For that, you need a strong marriage culture, and a return to God.

    I don’t mean there’s no such thing as a decent and responsible atheist. I mean rather that already-messed-up lives aren’t transformed by laws, but by love—above all by a personal encounter with the God who made them and loves them.

    I say we turn back to Him. We are on the brink of disaster as a society, but “God’s arm is not too short to save.”

    • #22
  23. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    In my working class neighborhood there were many single parent households for various reasons, usually the death of  parent, it was not at all unusual. Nevertheless 60 years later with very few exceptions all of the children of those households are now much more well off than their parents ever dreamed of being and living happily in comfortable retirement with their children and grandchildren. Why? No one ever told them that their misfortune entitled them to anything, it never occurred them to seek sustenance from the government or from anyone else. As katievs points out, they knew the responsibility for their life was theirs and no one else’s.  There was a concept, almost eliminated today, of shame and disgrace. People felt shame if they disgraced themselves or their family. The “it’s not your fault” culture has wiped this out.

    • #23
  24. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Rightfromthestart:In my working class neighborhood there were many single parent households for various reasons, usually the death of parent, it was not at all unusual. Nevertheless 60 years later with very few exceptions all of the children of those households are now much more well off than their parents ever dreamed of being and living happily in comfortable retirement with their children and grandchildren. Why? No one ever told them that their misfortune entitled them to anything, it never occurred them to seek sustenance from the government or from anyone else. As katievs points out, they knew the responsibility for their life was theirs and no one else’s. There was a concept, almost eliminated today, of shame and disgrace. People felt shame if they disgraced themselves or their family. The “it’s not your fault” culture has wiped this out.

    I can agree with everything you write, but would add what I think is an essential point,  that loss of a parent to death is very different from loss to divorce.  I’ll say just this: divorce parts child and parent as even death does not.

    • #24
  25. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Sandy:

    I agree with everything you write, but would add that loss of a parent to death is very different from loss to divorce. I been through both and there is no comparison. I’ll say just this: divorce parts child and parent as even death does not.

    After a father’s death the mother typically tells the kid how great the father was and how much he loved the kid and how much he wished he could have lived longer to see the kid grown into honorable manhood.

    After divorce the mother typically tells the kid how much of a louse the father was and how much he didn’t care about the kid and how he doesn’t pay for anything that the kid needs. 

    • #25
  26. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Among the favorite talking points of the new left is an aggressive atheism and a blind faith in science. They breathlessly say the words “studies say” in the same way evangelicals read scripture. Amazingly, the “Party of Science” can hold the dual thoughts that evolution is settled but that there are no evolutionary differences between men and women.

    They can not wrap their empty little heads around the fact that men have been bred to be warriors, protectors, providers and, when necessary, conquerors. They can not see that thwarting millions of years of evolutionary instinct they have created the creature that they fear the most, the feral man.

    Generation upon generation of women learned to harness and use these instincts, not just to their own advantage, but to the advantage of society as a whole. What they have accelerated in the African-American community they are now fostering on the rest of the population – existence without purpose, violence without honor, and yearning without fulfillment.

    In the name of equality they have done this to their own children. May God have mercy on us all.

    • #26
  27. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Man With the Axe:

    Sandy:

    I agree with everything you write, but would add that loss of a parent to death is very different from loss to divorce. I been through both and there is no comparison. I’ll say just this: divorce parts child and parent as even death does not.

    After a father’s death the mother typically tells the kid how great the father was and how much he loved the kid and how much he wished he could have lived longer to see the kid grown into honorable manhood.

    After divorce the mother typically tells the kid how much of a louse the father was and how much he didn’t care about the kid and how he doesn’t pay for anything that the kid needs.

    Exactly, and not only does the surviving parent speak thusly to the child, but the extended family is typically supportive, while in divorce the extended  family is often split, and the losses continue into subsequent generations.

    • #27
  28. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Tom Riehl:

    Abdication of male responsibility to protect our families, especially in this extreme case of war, is immoral and a sign of irreversible decay of our western civilization. Too strongly stated? I and many of my brothers-in-arms don’t think so. We don’t subscribe to collective guilt, but do suffer from painful embarrassment.

    The abdication started back when men initially allowed women to get their way.

    Men have now been told for decades that they’re superfluous by feminists, and many conservatives ascribe to feminist notions of “equality” regarding rights while adhering to traditionalist notions of responsibility.  On Sunday morning you’re far more likely to hear men being berated for failing to fulfil their marital obligations than women being mildly chastised for failing at theirs.

    Also, a lot of single mothers both divorced and never married make it as difficult as possible for the fathers of their children to participate in their lives.  Visitation is a perpetual struggle, the children only hear of how awful their father is, and Dad is regarded as superfluous in every sense of the word.

    Except the child support check, of course.  He’s absolutely indispensable for that.

    • #28
  29. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    EJ,

    existence without purpose, violence without honor, and yearning without fulfillment

    Isn’t that from the democratic party platform?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #29
  30. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Re # 27

    Unless he killed himself, kids aren’t left, by the death of a parent, thinking of themselves as insignificant or unworthy of the parent’s love.

    • #30
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