Non-rebels without a cause
seeks to demoralize and dissolve our society in all its key dimensions, it is not surprising that it is demoralizing young white men. Taking off from Laura W.’s comments in the long thread
on lesbianism and feminism, Stephen F. writes:
The demoralization of young white men today is very real. I know within the family and among friends, several white men in their 20s or even 30s who spend years trying to figure out what to do with their lives, while working at lousy part-time jobs and living with their parents. Most of them at some point are on therapy or medication. I think, “what has happened to our young white men?” They seem stunningly passive, and there’s no one present to whip them into shape. Further, they themselves don’t understand what’s wrong or why their lives have gone this way. (Furthermore, men in this state are not likely to have successful relationships with women.)
One young man I know keeps signing up for college courses and then failing or dropping out of the courses, while more or less partying with friends as money permits. It is not a matter of intelligence.
This young man’s parents disapprove of his lifestyle (though they continue to let him live with them and to “lend” him money that’s never returned), but encourage him to take college courses because he will get health insurance. Think about the demoralization taking place here. In this liberal society, we are constantly reminded by the media of how bad we are doing, how scared and miserable the “80 million Americans without health insurance” are. Why should any healthy young man in his early 20s be making decisions based on the availability of “healthcare”? It is so demeaning, so feminizing. Is this America?
White people in general seem to moving into the specialization of running the liberal, managerial class, which has increasingly subsumed the worlds of government, business, education, and even the military. They avoid physical labor (or are pushed out of it by immigrants). But the liberal managerial class is run along increasingly feminist, feminized lines.
So I think young white men particularly suffer from a lack of a sense of challenge and opportunity that has traditionally motivated them. They are taught that masculine virtues don’t exist. They have to learn to perform odious, bureaucratic tasks and the only satisfaction is to “help others” (ungrateful, incapable others, probably minorities) or to get perks like health insurance for themselves.
Kind of a tangent away from the original discussion, but the demoralization of men is very much related to the feminization of society.
Stephen F. continues:
I’d like to add a couple of things since I wrote it in the spirit of a thread and wasn’t being careful: 1) Although I’m not describing myself, I do feel I went through some version of the malaise I speak of in the past. It is only now that I’ve discovered the traditionalist perspective that I’m seeing these young men and speculating that liberalism is part of what’s demoralizing them. So I’m not speaking from the superior perspective that my note might have implied.
- end of initial entry -
2) I exaggerated the “people without healthcare” number for rhetorical reasons.
3) I also was driven to this thought by this business of white men not wanting their sons to do manual labor—the Karl Rove phenomenon—and the reader comments about it. It struck me that in a healthy society, white men who would be best employed as laborers SHOULD be laborers—working honorably and in civilized conditions. The flip side to white people becoming the bureaucratic managers of society (which is the basic expectation for people in my circle) is that the whites who aren’t good at this get demoralized and left behind.
Dimitri K. writes:
I cannot agree that what happens is feminization of the society. Being a woman means a lot of responsibilities in the society, among others, having children. Women are suffering from the lack of meaning the same way as men. What is happening is desexualization of our society, by which I mean removing of traditional men’s and women’s roles and reduction of sex to perversions.
Stephen T. writes:
Stephen F. writes: “It struck me that in a healthy society, white men who would be best employed as laborers SHOULD be laborers—working honorably and in civilized conditions. The flip side to white people becoming the bureaucratic managers of society (which is the basic expectation for people in my circle) is that the whites who aren’t good at this get demoralized and left behind.”
The denigration, and then banishment, of manufacturing and labor jobs—where something tangible is actually created—to be replaced by amorphous employment in “the service industry” seems to me to be an EXTREMELY feminizing phenomenon. And one which, I suspect, Bush’s ruling elite is happy to see the working classes accept. I’ve personally known American men who lost their blue-collar job in some industry that moved offshore and were forced to resort to such employment where nothing is really built or created, nothing really DONE, but instead customers get “serviced” or “supported” or foreign-made products and the associated paperwork get pushed around.
Very significantly, working-class American men who get stuck in those service industry jobs usually find that their bosses are either aggressive females or recently-arrived foreigners.
The editorializing of Mike Judge on this subject in various episodes of his “King Of The Hill” TV series is so understated as to pass under the radar of many, I suspect. But Steve Sailer has taken note of it and written a reflective article about it not long ago.
Alan Roebuck writes:
Stephen F. wrote:
The demoralization of young white men today is very real.All too true, and I’d like to add to the idea. Consider what young people (and everyone else) are relentlessly taught by almost all of society’s authorities: there are no objective moral or other spiritual truths, one must be infinitely tolerant, nonjudgmental and inclusive, etc.
In other words, young people are taught that reality itself is absurd, and human life is meaningless.
No surprise, then, that young men, who especially need abstract ideals to guide their lives, so often turn to either naked ego assertion or cowardice. If there are no ideals then life is either about avoiding difficulties as much as possible, or else about asserting yourself. And for those who are uneducated in either the literal sense or the spiritual sense, “ego assertion” is understood as crudely as possible: be feared or famous.
That’s an excellent traditionalist insight from Mr. Roebuck: loss of higher truth as the ultimate cause of the decay of culture and character.
Jim Kalb writes:
I agree it’s quite a good comment. Men rely on overall conceptual structure to give point to what they do. Tell them there is no such thing, and drive the point home constantly, and they become aimless and depressed or mindlessly aggressive.
This is an illuminating statement by Mr. Kalb and I have just quoted it in another entry where I use it to illuminate the Islam issue.
This also reminds me of something I’ve discussed before. As a result of encountering Mr. Kalb’s analysis of liberalism about eight years ago, I ceased being depressed about the course of our society and became hopeful. It was because Mr. Kalb showed the logical incoherence and falsity of liberalism and thus its unsustainability as a governing philosophy. Yes, of course, liberalism is still in the saddle and may very well destroy us before it itself is destroyed. But the coherent understanding of liberalism’s incoherence, the certainly that liberalism itself is not sustainable, that liberalism can be defeated, that liberalism is doomed, altered my outlook on a profound level and made me fundamentally hopeful. Liberalism still dominated our outward society. But it ceased to have any power over me inwardly.
Alan Roebuck writes:
How can I get my work done when VFR has so many brilliant ideas being discussed?
“As a result of encountering Mr. Kalb’s analysis of liberalism about eight years ago, I ceased being depressed about the course of our society and became hopeful.”
Amen! and Right on! Much the same thing happened to me. At VFR, you clarified and reinforced what I had begun to understand from my own analysis of liberalism, helped by many other thinkers, to be sure. VFR is rather like graduate school in understanding conservatism (“The Auster Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies”!). Furthermore, your intellectual courage in actually calling the Emperor naked is a continuing inspiration. To understand is no longer to be afraid.
Actually I once proposed to Jim Kalb and others at our traditionalist discussion group that an institute be formed called the “Institute for the Study of Liberal Society.” The idea was that liberalism has an entire culture, and innumerable organizations, all devoted to advancing liberalism and debunking and destroying what remains of traditional America and the West. So what we need is a counter-intellectual establishment devoted to the critical study of liberalism.
Re Alan Roebuck’s comment, a reader writes:
See? The truth shall make you free!
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 12, 2007 11:15 PM | Send