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Look. We all need a break. So let’s point and laugh at Senator Josh Hawley for a second. Recently, Hawley was the keynoter at some gathering of conservative under-employables, and he took the opportunity to tell them that the American male is under heavy and unrelenting assault from all sides by the all-powerful Left, which controls all the institutions of our society, as was graphically illustrated by the results of Tuesday’s election.
Anyway, Hawley came to the lectern with a long, lachrymose bill of particulars. To wit:
I spoke two years ago of the Left’s ambition to create a world beyond belonging—a world where community and shared culture—our culture—count for little. It’s part of the Left’s effort to fundamentally remake America. I want to talk with you tonight about another aspect of that ambition. I want to talk with you about the Left’s attempt to give us a world beyond men.
Space, the final frontier…
The Left know what they believe. They believe that America is a systemically racist, structurally oppressive, hopelessly patriarchal kind of place. It’s a dystopia, if only Americans would get woke enough to see it. It’s a nation that needs to be taught how unjust it truly is and after that, rebuilt from top to bottom. That’s the Leftist project, and that’s their grand ambition: to deconstruct America.
Well, if that means losing Florida for a while and, of course, Missouri, then I’m down with the project.
This work of deconstruction is what unites today’s Left and binds together all their various preoccupations, from critical race theory to their economic socialism to their bizarre war on women’s sports.
Yes, "the Left" and its insistence on the proper enforcement of Title IX has been the death of women’s sports.
(I know he’s talking about trans athletes, but if he thinks women’s sports are dead, I’d like to have him chat with Karissa Schweitzer, the former University of Missouri Tigers track star who represented the United States at the Olympics in Tokyo, and the most decorated athlete in UM history.)
But what I want you to notice, what I want to call out tonight, is this fact: that the deconstruction of America begins with and depends on the deconstruction of American men.
That sounds painful. I think he only needs the bolts in his neck tightened.
(Something something, ancient Rome, something something, Marcuse, Derrida, Marx, something, a couple of professors you’ve never heard of, AOC, something something, nobody says “mother” any more, something something. Yes, we’re skipping down a bit.)
Let me start by pressing home this point. The Left’s attack on America leads directly to an attack on manhood. For years now, Democrats and other leftists have insisted that American society is systemically oppressive, systemically evil and unjust. They’ve said it so much and so often that to them, it’s become a truism. It’s become the very cornerstone of their worldview.
Worldviews do not have cornerstones. They’re abstract concepts, like Senator Hawley’s personal reality.
Men are getting the message. They’re leaving higher education in record numbers. I suspect you’ve seen the recent Wall Street Journal reporting: Women now make up 60 percent of college students; men, 40 percent. Experts predict a 2:1 ratio soon, with the trend sped up by the pandemic. But the message of toxic masculinity is not only in the academy. It’s in our grade schools, where boys are increasingly treated like an illness in search of a cure. If boys are too rambunctious, they’re diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder and medicated into submission. Hollywood delivers the toxic masculinity theme ad nauseum in television and film.
And our expert class amplifies it. The American Psychological Association now advises that “conforming to traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development … and negatively influence mental health and physical health.” Manhood is a disease to be defeated. The Left delivers the same message in the press, through the corporations, and through advertising. Gillette infamously ran an ad campaign for its razors in 2019 that included this voice-over: “Bullying … MeToo movement against sexual harassment … toxic masculinity … is this the best a man can get?” And the Left is writing this same men-are-the-problem mantra into policy.
Get it? Men are the exclusive targets of college curricula, kindergarten teachers, psychologists, pharmacists, movie producers, and razor blade companies. Oh, and also, they are menaced by public-health regulations.
Working class men have been a particular target for this Administration. President Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate on private citizens puts millions of working class men squarely in the cross hairs. Shut up, get the jab, or get lost. Never mind these are the very people hailed as “essential workers” not twelve months ago. Not anymore. Now they’re expendable. Now they’re the problem.
And some of them are hedge-fund cowboys and investment bankers who are a’skeered of the needle. Here, though, is where Hawley veers briefly into the faux “populism” that won him some fans among gullible liberals back in the days before he cheered on an armed attempt to overthrow the government.
Over the last thirty years and more, government policy has helped destroy the kind of economy that gave meaning to generations of men. Domestic manufacturing once supported millions of American men with good wages, who in turn started and supported families. Now that industry lies all but dead on the altar of globalism. At the same time, advancing consolidation has made it almost impossible for family farmers to compete against multinational firms. The result is fewer and fewer men working. And I don’t mean the elderly or disabled, I mean prime-aged, able-bodied men.
Who, Hawley maintains, have been forced to find other outlets.
Still … can we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games.
This had gone on for an interminable amount of time. Many words had been combined into sentence-like combinations to demonstrate that men are beset on all sides by powerful forces aimed at their deconstruction. At which point, Hawley said,
I am not here tonight to tell you that men are victims.
The last thing we need more of in this country is the victim mindset. And men who blame others for their problems and then slink away to do nothing, or worse, who embrace violence or cruelty, deserve rebuke.
You just spent a full half-hour explaining how men have been victimized by trans teenagers and razor-blade companies, but you’re not there tonight to tell the audience that men are victims. Got it. And men who embrace violence and cruelty “deserve rebuke,” but, up above, you criticized Gillette for the emasculating effect of its anti-bullying advertising campaign. You, sir, are a Grade-A kook.
However, he’s found the track he’s going to run on and, along about December of 2023, I suspect that I will be reading in one of our top newspapers about how Josh Hawley “brilliantly weaponized male insecurity” to take the lead in all the polling coming out of New Hampshire. On that, I will make book.
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