ALAN ROEBUCK writes:
At first I viewed Hanna Rosin’s essay ”The End of Men” as simply an attack on men. And indeed it is an attack on men, though largely couched in a journalistic, just-the-facts-ma’m tone. The author, despite a few semi-obligatory sentences admitting that all is not well when men are down, clearly approves of the latest developments, and only wishes men would get with the program, that is, cheerfully accept their inferior status.
But in fact this essay is an attack on humanity, because it describes as ideal what is in fact a deeply unnatural and unstable social situation in which women hold all the advantages. Unless we move closer toward what feminists would decry as “traditional” sex roles, our society will be unable to propagate itself, leading either to Balkanization (i.e., tribal warfare) or the tyranny that naturally results when people are unable properly to order their own lives, and accordingly need to have the state do it for them. The foolish may celebrate the freedom to misbehave that people—especially women –now possess, but the more foresighted must recognize that our current situation is but the prelude to disaster. If people have the freedom to do whatever they want, it is only because others are paying the price for them. And when the others are unable to keep paying the price, the whole system will collapse.
Think: What is the essential nature of the change this essay describes? That women are devoting far less time and energy to raising children than before, whether because they have fewer children or because they hand their children off to child-care professionals who do not—and cannot—give their children the love and nurture they need. Do not ask men to do what women have stopped doing: even if men were temperamentally capable of providing what mothers provide (and they are not, because men are not the same as women), the fact is that men are not doing it, despite an onslaught of feminist propaganda telling them they must.
The result is several generations now of children who have not been raised with the love and attention they need, leading to the greatly magnified social pathologies we see all around us, including male underachievement. Since there has been a radical change in society that is probably unprecedented in human history, but there has not been a corresponding change in human nature, we must look to a social cause of the malaise that the author foolishly celebrates. That social cause is the widespread promulgation of the intellectual system of liberalism—including feminism—which causes man to rebel against reality and to reject doing his duty to God, country and family.
And why are men doing worse than women? Aside from the possibility that the author has cherry-picked her statistics to make men’s plight look as bad as possible, men far more than women are motivated by abstract ideals. And modernity declares that there is no valid metanarrative, in which case man’s chief end is no longer “to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever” (in the words of the Westminster Catechism), nor even to defend our people and way of life from their many enemies, but instead to be tolerant and nondiscriminatory. Women, in general, seem to enjoy this new imperative but most men are not inspired by being told that all is relative. Real men require a challenge in order to flourish.
Your last point about the loss of abstract ideals and its effect on men gets to the very heart of it. Unless there is something higher to defend, in relation to both one’s personal life and one’s cultural identity, men become apathetic. And that is what we are seeing in part with the decline in male achievement, the lower college graduation rates and declining wages which I and others have spoken about here.
Men are languishing from ennui and indifference. Liberalism emasculates. To that extent, Hanna Rosin is right. This is the end of men.