The New York Times recently ran a piece called the “Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido.” The title is hard to disagree with in light of the sexual harassment and predatory behavior by high profile men we’ve been reading about.
Let’s establish, first, however, that I don’t believe the behavior we’ve heard about – whether by the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey or Rep. John Conyers or Sen. Al Franken – has anything to do with a psychological quirk exclusive to men or some kind of medically controllable ailment, like sex-oholism.
We are seeing the fruits of a movement – both political and social – underway for decades, to tear down the traditional roles of men and women in society. The “free love” movement going back to the 1960s, which essentially rewrote the social norms for how men would interact with women leading into sexual activity and the aftermath.
Hollywood and the media not only romanticized the shift in cultures, but took it further with decades of objectification of women in film and print, and normalizing abhorrent behavior. They tore down cultural institutions like marriage and the family, and replaced it with a vacuous, relativistic idea that has shaken our society and devastated our morality.
Hollywood and the media tore down cultural institutions like marriage and the family, and replaced it with a vacuous, relativistic idea that has shaken our society and devastated our morality.
We are now seeing the bitter fruit of this movement as courageous women and even some men step forward. I’m talking about the war on what progressives, extreme feminists and the cultural elites (Hollywood and the entertainment industry) have branded as “toxic masculinity.” Yet it is these very groups that enabled and protected the likes of Weinstein and Franken and, as revealed last week, Matt Lauer.
Layer on top of that the so-called “war on boys,” the easy access to pornography and the left’s and feminists’ willingness to look the other way for decades as male allies publicly supported their causes while they privately abused women (from Bill Clinton to Al Gore to the shenanigans of Sens. Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy) and you can see why we are in the state we are.
Yet today, these enablers insist on pinning their mess on the “toxic masculinity” of every male. After decades of conditioning to objectify, and even enabling toxic masculinity because it suited their purposes, many in the liberal elite are acting shocked – shocked! – that men like Conyers or Franken or Lauer could publicly crusade for women’s rights and “girl power” while illicitly touching and fondling women, forcing them to kiss them, and demanding sexual favors in ways most men would never consider, let alone act upon. It is utterly irrational to think that somehow after conditioning people for decades they will not behave according to that conditioning.
In its attempts to blame all men for certain behaviors, the left is trying to avoid the fact that it created toxic masculinity. It created the werewolves and the vampires with their twisted views of the world and the genders and love and sex—it created the rapacious male.
I believe that virtuous masculinity can and does exist, but for my boys to grow into virtuous men the process begins now, when they're young. It's about teaching them gentle strength, to have self-discipline and to serve, to be noble in a world that wants them to be anything but noble.
Combine this with the objectification of other people and the premise that we’re all the random result of chance, why wouldn't you demand immediate gratification for personal gain? One follows the other and we are in many ways seeing the inevitable end of these ideas. It should be hoped that we will question everything we’ve been conditioned to: are we just finite objects eking out our 70 or 80 or 90 years on this rock spinning around the sun in space, or is each one of us a unique creation, caught between the eternities with an immortal soul, with a greater purpose than just to exist for a moment in time?
When you warp the essence of who we are and bend them to fit your twisted views of reality and purpose, you quickly end up with inconsistencies and wrong conclusions about literally everything: a human being’s purpose and meaning, of belonging, of the genders, of sex, of love. Of course the male mechanism of desire, if detached from self-discipline and virtue, is ugly.
But let's be honest: aren’t all unchecked desires in every human being brutal and ugly? Aren’t all human actions abhorrent when motivated by twisted desires and beliefs?
I have four children, three of them boys. I believe that virtuous masculinity can and does exist and I don't believe that the idea is a lost cause. But for my boys to grow into virtuous men the process begins now, when they're young. It's about teaching them gentle strength, to have self-discipline and to serve, to be noble in a world that wants them to be anything but noble, to be non-conformists in a world that seeks to conform them to its warped views of reality.
Yet I can’t have any of those things truly instilled in them unless they understand who they are as human beings, and what their purpose and meaning really is: their behavior and views of the world will only grow from those correct understandings. It’s time that we as a society and a culture start having these conversations about who we are as human beings. To refuse to have them is to ask for more of what we’re currently seeing.