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An Epiphany

 

A MALE READER writes:

It just dawned upon me a little while ago. Even though I have my advanced education and worked hard to get it, I have drifted aimlessly. This is something which has worried me no end because my brothers, friends and relatives (in Asia) always had goals and they set their sights upon those goals and achieved them. They have not stopped and they continue to prosper. One common thread runs through this: they are all married and have families. Consequently they are driven to prosper because of their love for their wives and children.

I have realized that after living in a feminized, emasculating culture where women have displaced men at every level of the workforce with laws in their favor giving them the ability to make money and in some cases big money, a man has become unnecessary for most women. I as a 44-year-old man realize that if there was a woman to love and a woman who would love and appreciate me for who I am, I would move mountains for her. But alas, at this point in my life, I am not motivated to move that mountain. I am thankful to have a modest job and live for myself.

Man is driven to build civilization not just for himself but for the love of women and his progeny.

—– Comments —-

A. writes:

From an article by Lynn Bruce on Ambleside.org:

My father once said in a sermon, “We spend our lives preoccupied with the things that belong to us. We come to believe we are defined by those things; that they will give us joy. But in the end, it doesn’t matter what belongs to you. What does matter? What defines who you are? What gives you joy? Only to what–and to whom–you belong.”

Donald Aievoli writes:

Thank you for intellectualizing what many Americans have felt instinctively for years. Having no voice, and for fear of being marginalized and attacked ad hominem, many have resigned themselves to live a “life of quiet desperation.” The post “An Epiphany,” Saturday, February 23, 2013, submitted by a male reader, could have been written by me. I too am in my forties and have never married nor had a relationship beyond a casual involvement. Some would say that I am a man-child, refusing to grow-up and fulfill my obligations to society. On the contrary, I would characterize it as a refusal to grow-down and succumb to post-modern feministic nihilism that has emasculated and rendered male leadership as irrelevant.

Anyhow, thank you for giving a voice to the marginalized “traditionalists.” Also, please accept my nomination as a chartering member of the American Traditionalist Society.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

Buck writes:

“Male Reader” has expressed what I long felt and thought, kept to myself and then abandoned for lack of hope. As a youngster, I either dreamed or fantasized about “a woman to love and a woman who would love and appreciate me for who I am” and “I would (have) move(d) mountains for her.” I’m 65 now, and this is hapless regret. I have often thought, and perhaps the anonymous reader has also, that I was born several generations too late. I’m certain that I would have been more like my grandfather and less like my father, who, after the war, came to the city instead of going back to the farm. He was a lost soul, a fish out of water. He was unequipped for the city and for the leading edge of feminism. There were three young children emotionally abandoned by their young and beautiful post-War mother who grabbed onto that leading edge of feminism. She tired of homemaking and got a job. Soon we had our first car and soon after I had a stepfather.

My son, soon age 24, was born 100 years after his great grandfather, who raised four sons with a wife who ran a one-room schoolhouse on the farm for decades. They lived out their lives together on that farm. My son will marry the terrific young woman that he has been inseparable from since his freshman year in college. She is two years older and well established in her career. She currently earns twice his income. My son’s mother earned twice my income when we divorced fifteen years ago.

It’s strange. My father was tough as nails in many ways. I watched him stitch up a long laceration in his own arm with mom’s needle and thread. He never missed a day of work. But he was fatally weak in another way. His father was completely rock solid. I’m like my father, and my son seems to have my grandfather’s strength, but somehow is turned inside out. I can’t explain it briefly.

I have the highest hopes and confidence in my son, that he will pick up the slack of his father and grandfather and be the complete man that his remarkable great grandfather was. Remarkable to me in the sense that he seemed more typical of the men of his time.

One man, one woman, one life.

Alissa writes:

Forgive me, but I would advise this male reader to be cautious of Anglo liberalism and even most Anglo customs going back to the Enlightenment, arguably the birth of modernity. French liberalism and German liberalism are also dangerous so be careful of them, but not so much French and German customs. Remember that before the Industrial Revolution, the labour and the household were one and the same. The father was called the head of the household for a reason, while the mother was his helper and companion, who birthed his progeny. The whole absentee father away from the household having a full-time job and the “power couples” who have nannies and never see their children, are perhaps part of the same phenomenon: that of the British Industrial Revolution. Revolution used to mean the earth going back to its place, its center. It used to be cycles. Now it also means “something new.” Big corporations are another anomaly because before that it was small and moderate home businesses. It was an Englishman named Charles Darwin who created the theory of evolution, and this is still reflected by the fact that modern Western liberals call themselves “progressives.” Also Anglos are quite practical, so they take crazy evil philosophies like liberalism and turn it into a reality. Don’t forget the Anglo custom of chivalry which forced the man to hear and listen the diabolical wills of their wives and children (aka “those precious women and children!”), and support feminism on a mass scale. That is still true today. Powerful liberal men like Barack Hussein Obama and Bill Clinton have a twisted chivalrous relationship with their wives and daughters. They want to help them. And how do they do it? By supporting feminism.

That is not to say that Anglos are evil, or sons of the devil, or monsters. The problem is that their customs, and their type of liberalism, was the great victor. And it is the type of liberalism being spread around the world as we speak and write.

Laura writes:

I’m not sure why you warn the anonymous reader against Western liberalism.  He seems aware of its negative consequences.

I don’t agree that chivalry, which presumed male primacy, is the root of feminism. Also, when speaking of the economic changes that came with the Industrial Revolution, which dramatically reduced home businesses, it’s important not to mistake that for an existence in which there was no differentiation in the roles of men and women. Men were still often away from the home as tradesmen, sailors, fishermen, soldiers, politicians, etc. Even on farms, when men were home, they had sharply different roles and women were preoccupied with domestic life and child-rearing. I say this because I often read comments to the effect that somehow the roles of men and women were perfectly natural and seamless before the Industrial Revolution. But these roles still expressed certain cultural values that had to be constantly reinforced.

Perfesser Plum writes:

I don’t mean to challenge or to minimize what anyone had said so far. Just a thought.

Male Reader writes, “One common thread runs through this: they are all married and have families. Consequently they are driven to prosper because of their love for their wives and children.”

Is it possible that some men GET wives and children because they are ALREADY driven by something that REQUIRES having a wife and children—or something that fulfills the same drive? A mission, identity, sense of destiny based on manhood to provide, to do what God wants, to participate in the big scheme?

Consider unmarried men who have “had goals and they set their sights upon those goals and achieved them.” Surely we know many.

Perhaps the weakening of institutions (family, farm) in which “old fashioned” men could BE men did not cause the loss of manhood in the culture. It was the result of that loss.

Buck writes:

It’s unclear to me what Perfesser Plum means. “Is it possible…that something REQUIRES having a wife and children…?” Does he mean as accoutrements or business accessories? Or that a man knows that he is incomplete as a man without a family, and that he had his future family in mind all along? Or that he didn’t plan to have his own family, until one day, having no family made no sense?

Perfesser Plum writes: “Perhaps the weakening of institutions (family, farm) in which “old fashioned” men could BE men did not cause the loss of manhood in the culture. It was the result of that loss.”

I agree. Along with my grandfather, a large majority of Americans lived an agrarian life. I think that we can follow that “weakening” right up to the end of World War Two, where Jefferson’s America largely succumbed to Hamilton’s. If I have a book in me, it’s working title is the Failure of the Greatest Generation. It was too much to expect of them; to save America and the world as warriors in Europe and the Pacific, then to come home, get back to work, build up our infrastructure, start their families and also defend America from the roiling boil of modern liberalism that was boiling over on their own stoves. I don’t think that most of them knew what hit them. By the time they understood, it was over and done.

Alissa writes:

Laura wrote:

I don’t agree that chivalry, which presumed male primacy, is the root of feminism.

Not chivalry itself but a specific type of Anglo chivalry. There is a weird habit that I can’t explain but is inherent in Anglo chivalry, and somehow it ends up supporting feminism.

Also, when speaking of the economic changes that came with the Industrial Revolution, which dramatically reduced home businesses, it’s important not to mistake that for an existence in which there was no differentiation in the roles of men and women.

There was still differentiation true but moderate home businesses were lost and even today in the U.S.A. and other parts of the world it is small home businesses which are the greatest losers. I liked the homeschooling movement and hopefully it will spread into more home businesses and home births.

The male reader writes:

I agree that not all married men are there to strive but being married and having children gives them purpose and direction in life instead of wandering around aimlessly. The most discouraging thing for men today is the offshoring of jobs and the good paying jobs given to women.Where single men are concerned for example, Sir Isaac Newton never married but discovered many things. I do not begrudge that, but for men like myself, it would be nice to have a wife who is going to be your cheerleader, a mother to your children and a good friend. Some of men in the Generation X got to the era of peak feminism in the 90s , while some succeeded many ended getting a bad deal. I know anecdotally many friends my age who are very educated, smart men with a science or engineering background still struggling to make it. Some kind of made it but ended with their lives being ravaged by divorce. It is as though many Generation X men ended being part of a lost generation.

My dad is from the old school, was born in 1924 , dropped out of college an d built his own business from scratch, with only a typewriter and a few letter heads. I admire him for that and I wish I could emulate him even at this late stage of my life. My parents were married 45 years before my mother died of an enlarged heart. My parents were very close and my dad never remarried. We as a family went through some very hard times, but my dad persevered to provide for us and the prosperity he brought through his business was prosperity for all us. It is as though being married to the right partner is like having a turbo charger in your life and that is what many men aspire for but never have had any luck finding a woman like that.

Marriage in Asia is also on the decline. Many women are opting for career over marriage. Divorce is on an upward trajectory; as I have mentioned before New Delhi has a divorce rate of a staggering 80 percent!!! People are cohabiting, having less or no children and lot of countries in both Southeast Asia and South Asia are seeing population decline to below replacement level. What I noticed on my  visit to Asia last year was that I saw most women wearing trousers and it was a rarity to see women wearing clothes indigenous to their countries or even wearing more feminine attire. Feminism certainly is having a major influence via various NGO’s even in the villages. People do not want to be married and hence bail out when times get rough. They marry for being at the center of attention but do not want to go through the [hard work] in marriage.

Steven T. writes:

To be blunt, I read this post with absolute revulsion for its author. You were correct to identify him as “male,” because while he might have XY chromosomes, he is certainly not a man, a genuine man. I quote:

“I have realized that after living in a feminized, emasculating culture… a man has become unnecessary for most women. I as a 44-year-old man realize that if there was a woman to love and a woman who would love and appreciate me for who I am, I would move mountains for her. But alas, at this point in my life, I am not motivated to move that mountain. I am thankful to have a modest job and live for myself.”

I stand slack-jawed in amazement and disgust. First off, he writes that “a man has become unnecessary for most women.” He’s quite correct, at least in what passes for Western civilization nowadays. But he explicitly stated the basic truth that it’s only most (Western) women who don’t need a man; not all women, most women. Were he a man, a genuine, red-blooded male suffused with testosterone, he would go out and find one of the minority of women who still need a man. But he’s dismissed that possibility with the worst, most effeminate, and completely emasculated whine I believe I’ve ever heard, one that fills me with rage: “if there was a woman.” Is he joking? Does he expect the woman of his dreams to descend from the clouds to the sound of trumpets, or emerge from the sea on a shell, shielding her modesty with her luxuriant hair?

My apologies if I slight your sex, but in my experience it’s women who typically blame their circumstances, and not their own actions (or lack thereof), for any misfortune or disappointment they encounter. In my estimation, one of the defining characteristics of a man (as differentiated from a mere male) is the ability to recognize, take responsibility for, and above all, alter his behaviors to achieve his goals — or to die trying. He whines about how his brothers, relatives, and friends are all married and have children, and explains their drive and their successes on the fact that they have families. He would do well to consider the alternate viewpoint, that they have families because of their drive. Doesn’t he realize that men were made to pursue, women to select? I asked him to consider, why would a woman select a male without drive, who is thankful to have merely a modest job, one who lives only for himself?

Finally, I am contemptuous of his assertion that if he only had the right woman, he “would move mountains for her.” Yes, and if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I suspect, based on this e-mail, that if he had a woman who loved him and appreciated him for what he is, he would muddle along, without passion, without drive, because that’s what he is and what he’s about. I am not saying that he doesn’t have it within him to move mountains, but I am saying that any male who resorts to “if only I had X” to justify a life of barely shifting a few molehills desperately needs to shift his attention from what externals he lacks to what he actually has to work with, inside him.

If I’m harsh, so be it. I grew up in a blue-collar Catholic ghetto in New York City, with stern, manly old Irish priests who didn’t mince words, and fathers who came home exhausted from putting up buildings, charging into blazes, or walking beats, but (usually) somehow found the energy to toss a ball or referee a street hockey game. (I was one of the three of my childhood friends who actually made it to college, while all the rest followed their fathers into the trades or the uniformed services.) Blaming everything but yourself for your circumstances was the surest way to end up the butt of derision and mockery. But even then, it wasn’t meant gratuitously. It was always done with the ultimate intention of shaming you into reaching deep down inside yourself and finding the man within. I only hope, if you choose to post this, that it spurs your “male reader” into action.

M. writes:

Radical feminism has succeeded as much as it has (it has totally poisoned public schools) because men failed to be men. Women demanded they be treated like equals, to the point of attacking men who acted like gentlemen and protectors, so most men said “forget this” and started acting like sitcom stereotypes stuck in a kind of arrested adolescence. But this is what feminists want: you can find plenty of quotes from them openly stating that they want to destroy the Judeo-Christian basis of Western society and the family itself; they hate the God of the Bible and the order He, as Creator and Designer, established. They are, therefore, destroying their own souls, and dragging society down with them. Why do they get away with it? We let them. We caved. We bought all of the junk psychobabble paraded as science by the Phil Donohues and Oprah Winfreys. We can blame wimpy womanizers like Alan Alda and Phil Donohue, the NEA and the corrupted psychology of the ‘70s all we want, but the bottom line is: men quit the fight and gave up being men without even trying. They should have done the right thing and acted with manly character and virtue, no matter what a few bitter old lesbians said and did.

I say this as a man who didn’t figure it out himself until he was in his 40s. I have been blessed with a wife who, while nobody’s doormat (she’s a good Southern woman), requires me to be a man, not a boy who needs her to be his surrogate mother/maid.

Donald A. responds to M.:

I agree in full. I think in part, the abdication took place because of the male psyche. Men have a tendency to remove themselves from uncomfortable situations when it comes to women, attributing it to the vagaries of the female psyche.

M. replies:

Yeah, we do. Women have more connections between their two hemispheres, so they integrate feeling into their reason more than men do. A man’s first instinct when confronted with a flood of female emotions is to walk away. In that respect, I think men are more fragile than women. On the other hand, men are able to compartmentalize feelings when the crap hits the fan and fix the problem. We get into trouble by always trying to fix everything our women bring to us, when a lot of the time they just want us to listen and to show we empathize; men have a bad habit of only noticing their women when they need something, like a narcissistic adolescent, and we are really bad about making a woman feel insecure because we don’t really connect well in the way they are wired to connect – feeling that they are safe emotionally as well as physically is key to them – the Apostle Paul called that love when directing husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave his life for it. On the other hand, women have a bad habit of not understanding that men value respect more than love. If men and women would figure out that our differences are there by design, and they are meant to complement and complete the other, we’d be much better off. Instead, Satan and his postmodern, God-hating minions use it to destroy what God meant for good.

Male Reader responds:

I read Steven T.’s harsh comments about my missive. I take that criticism in stride. If men are not allowed to speak their mind what good is it to discuss any of this at all? I am not being whiny about the success of my brothers and relatives but merely making observations about the status of affairs today. I am not having any regrets about my decisions nor do I expect the type of women I describe to materialize from nowhere. It is interesting about some of the costs of pursuing a woman today that might find a woman imposing a restraining order to the pursuing male. [Laura writes: True, but it is not a common experience.]

I have lived through 11 years of civil war and insurgency. I have gone through hell and back. I abhor all kinds of violence and I am a realist. I will stand by what I say. My brothers ran away before the civil war got bad and I stayed home through its worst periods and took care of my mother dying of heart failure. Those who talk about harsh, do not know what harsh is and what starvation and rationing is and need to be thankful for their blessings. We were man enough to live through it and look after our parents and held out as much as we could before our parents asked us to go and make something of our lives. I have become a more mature person and I see the world for what it is …

Laura writes:

Male Reader is an Asian immigrant in America, which complicates his situation. However, I would agree with Steven T. that he is making a mistake in resigning himself to living alone. Feminism does not justify his resignation though it does make things much more difficult. There are good women looking for husbands and there are many, many women who do not make big bucks or consider a man an unnecessary accessory.

Deirdre writes:

My question to the men in this thread:  I have beautiful, intelligent daughters, who are ready and truly desiring to love, honor and obey a courageous and devoted husband — a real man who understands marriage as holy matrimony and knows his own vocation to love and be loved by his wife and to welcome children with joy.  But where are such men to be found?  What should these young people do to find each other?

My daughters are educated and discerning, charming and enterprising.  They do not shy from work, but hesitate to launch into a career path from which there is no relief and no return, knowing that the most important vocations right now are as the very best husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.  They are not naive, but in the midst of the ruins of the culture, they know that the only way to overcome the deadening nihilism around them is to keep their eyes on truth, beauty and goodness — and to nurture faith and hope within a real family.
A young 30-something commenter on Rod Dreher’s blog recently noted that the understanding of marriage as a sacramental union of a man and a woman based on love for each other and for God, aimed at procreation and family formation, was displaced before his generation was even born.  They have no memory of that concept of marriage.  They have lived their entire lives under a culture that believes marriage is simply an expression of romantic love between two people.  This fact helps to explain why they see no problem with the idea of same-sex “marriage”, but it also sheds light on the reason young men and women who somehow hold that ancient memory, have such a hard time finding each other.
So, I’m seeking advice, not only for my own daughters but for other young women and men who will form the marriages and families on which a culture depends.  Things fell apart under our generation’s watch.  We acknowledge our ignorance and error, we are filled with regret and remorse, and the least we can do is to assist and support those who will rebuild.
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