Riding to the Sound of the Guns; Defending Men

I’d guess that by now you’ve all heard of the American Psychological Association’s guidance for treating boys and men. No, I haven’t read it, nor do I intend to. Most of what I’ve heard is intensely negative, making ‘pure crap’ sound like a compliment. Plus I’m a technical, engineering type guy, you know, yes or no, right or wrong.works or doesn’t work, ‘0’ or ‘1’. If it’s not absolutely right, it’s completely wrong. I’m mostly digital, not analog, although I do tend to have quite a lot of empathy for the fixes people get themselves into. Been there, done that. I still sort of believe the engineering school definition of psychology: “Nuts and S**ts. Deal with it, that’s the sort of guy I am.

But I’m not everybody, and more and more I notice a lot of young guys (girls too) seem a bit screwed up, so maybe somebody should help them and I’m very likely not that guy, so maybe psychologists do have a place. But I don’t think these guidelines, or at least what I’ve read about them, are helpful.

Quillette Magazine reached out to 12 well-known practitioners (some I’ve even heard of, and even read some of their stuff). What they said is about as balanced as I’ve seen. And it is interesting. A few excerpts follow. much more at the link.

Introduction — John P. Wright, Ph.D.

Thirteen years in the making, the American Psychological Association (APA) released the newly drafted “Guidelines for Psychological Practice for Boys and Men.” Backed by 40 years of science, the APA claims, the guidelines boldly pronounce that “traditional masculinity” is the cause and consequence of men’s mental health concerns. Masculine stoicism, the APA tells us, prevents men from seeking treatment when in need, while beliefs rooted in “masculine ideology” perpetuate men’s worst behaviors—including sexual harassment and rape. Masculine ideology, itself a byproduct of the “patriarchy,” benefits men and simultaneously victimizes them, the guidelines explain. Thus, the APA committee advises therapists that men need to become allies to feminism. “Change men,” an author of the report stated, “and we can change the world.”

But if the reaction to the APA’s guidelines is any indication, this change won’t happen anytime soon. Criticism was immediate and fierce. Few outside of a handful of departments within the academy had ever heard of “masculine ideology,” and fewer still understood how defining traditional masculinity by men’s most boorish—even criminal—behavior would serve the interests of men or entice them to seek professional help. Instead of passing quietly into the night, as most academic pronouncements do, the APA’s guidelines did what few such documents have ever done: They engendered a social media maelstrom, and likely not only lost professional credibility, but potentially created new barriers for men who need help. […]

We are heartened by the criticism that emerged from the APA’s guidelines. Why? Because we don’t believe that most of the backlash resulted from crass political motives. Instead, much of it was rooted in a deep concern about men and boys. The culture wars have not been kind to men, and data from an assortment of surveys tell us that boys and men are not thriving. Documents can be edited, but goodwill is a commodity no one should erase. If the APA is truly concerned about the mental and emotional health of men, it will recognize the goodwill and constructive intent underpinning much of the criticism, and consider the feedback as a starting point for a broader and more productive discussion of how to most effectively provide successful treatment for boys and men.

A sample from one contributor.

Who Will Mount Up and Ride to the Sound of the Guns? — B. Christopher Frueh, Ph.D.

The APA’s latest manifesto is an embarrassment to the discipline of psychology. It is an abdication of scientific responsibility, denying biological and evolutionary realities in favor of a progressive fantasy pushed by “social justice” and “feminist” ideologies. It is harmful to all members of our society and dangerous to our national security. Masculine qualities like rugged individualism, courage, stoicism, ambition, and a willingness to protect and sacrifice for others helped secure the freedom and prosperity that so many now take for granted.  

At a time when many academics are virtue-signaling by whining about “toxic masculinity,” taking offense at every imagined “microaggression,” and listing their “pronouns” in their email signature blocks, we should ask where does this line of absurdity end? Perhaps the next APA manifesto will seek to abolish religion, athletics, heterosexual marriage, eating meat, etc. Whatever happened to common sense? And where does this take us? Will we next ban books, movies, and podcasts by people named Ernest Hemingway, Clint Eastwood, or Jocko Willink?

OK, I’m not neutral in this fight, and Dr. Frueh says what I think, so I featured him here. That makes neither him nor me correct, but he damn sure raises a valid question. Read the whole thing, I found that each of the 12 contributors has something valuable to add. None of this is simple. I can’t speak for you, of course, but often I wonder exactly why I think, speak, or write as I do. Dr. Frueh also quotes one of my favorite authors, and it is important that we keep it in mind as we move forward. Remember, life is movement, if we’re not moving forward, we are slipping back.

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

—C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (1943)

Saddle Up!

 

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Culture Wars

Daniel Oliver writing in The Federalist has a question for us. Where has all the culture gone? Where indeed. Let’s see what he’s on about, shall we?

From the New York island to the Redwood forest, Western Civilization continues to collapse, gradually now, but soon, maybe, suddenly. For now, only a relatively small band of traditionalists are manning the gates against the cultural nihilists. And, of course, manning is the right word. Once upon a time, hand-to-hand combat was not thought to be women’s work: if the women were killed in battle, who would take care of the children?

Assuming there are any children. About 800,000 babies are aborted each year in the US. Given that about 39 percent of those babies are black but that blacks are only 12 percent of the population, why isn’t abortion seen as racist? Whatever happened to disparate impact?

How can Democrats, who are the primary advocates for abortion, say with a straight face that their pro-abortion stance isn’t a dog whistle for racists? Can Democrats say they know no one who favors abortion who has not also at least once said, or perhaps “opined,” that a complementary effect of abortion is that it helps keep down the poor black population?

If Ralph (not his real name) were to beat a black man to death in the forest while yelling racial insults, but The New York Times didn’t cover the attack, would it be a racist act?

Just recently the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, indicated that he would not oppose an “abortion” even after a baby was born. Most people were scandalized by his remarks, but the only remarkable aspect of them was that he said them out loud, not that had thought them. That he, and thousands of others, had thought them is really unremarkable, because of Burnham’s Second law: “Who says A must say B.” (James Burnham was a philosopher and a founding editor of National Review; he wrote many books, including his seminal work, The Managerial Revolution.)

Burnham’s Second Law makes the point that taking one position can require taking a subsequent position. If you murder Duncan, you must also kill Banquo.

A baby in the womb either is or is not a person. The abortionists say “it” is not (they have to say that because it is still not quite acceptable to kill “people” — unless perhaps they are really old or sick and, you know, like, really not enjoying life), but the abortionists refuse to say when “it” does become a person. In theory they might say “when it is born,” but that is now transparently only terminological.

Even a fool can tell that there’s no substantive difference between the personhood of a “baby” in the womb on December 24 and that same baby born on December 25. But where are the fools when we need them?

Yeah, he’s right, without question, and you should read the rest. But the culture ain’t just abortion, and the question is a lot broader. Where’s popular music that is music? That died about 1980, maybe earlier. Now we simply have noise, and not because I’m an old fogey, I thought so in the 80s, and quit listening. Now, I listen to a 60s station from London on the internet, mostly, because even the classical stations have caught the infection.

Think that irrelevant? It’s not, culture pervades and includes all facets of life. If you listen to Handel and Bach (or even Elvis and the early Beatles, let alone Pet Clark and Frank Sinatra, it’s not something that wants to make you go kill babies. Now, I wonder.

What do you think when you see a US Soldier on the street? For me, and many of us, they are the heirs of the Continental Army, both sides in the Civil War, and the men that fought off Hitler’s and Tojo’s minions, thus saving the world. If you see anything else, well the culture is declining and quickly.

So many things like that, and it all goes into the death of our culture. If we don’t resuscitate if soon, it, and we, will die.

Slaughtering the Innocents

Matthew writes:

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

We call this The Slaughter of the Innocents, and those Innocents are the first Saints of our church. That is as it should be. But we in the United States, have butchered over 61 million children even younger than that since 1973. We will kill another 840 today. That is the entire population of the town I grew up in – every day.

Why? The excuses are legion, and few of them amount to anything more than a woman’s convenience. That seems to be enough reason to butcher a child using methods that would cause a packing house to be shut down in horror.

But even this isn’t enough, the left thinks a woman should be able to kill her baby even after it is born, or as it is being born, that is what the new New York law allows, as does the one the Virginia Senate defeated last week. Virginia’s governor proudly proclaimed that it would allow the killing of an infant after it was born.

Georgi Boorman writing in The Federalist reminds us. I quote little of it, read it all, it’s exceptionally well done.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who just made deeply troubling comments on abortion, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who just signed the country’s most radical abortion law, have been the subject of intense ire in recent days. The outrage is coming not just coming from “radical” pro-lifers, but people from across the political spectrum.

Why? Because virtually no one but the far left believes it is morally acceptable to allow infants to be murdered seconds before birth, or to be left to die after delivery at the behest of the mother.

Yet the nation has been shocked by radical left’s boldness in their mission to define preborn human beings as disposable non-persons. Where is this evil coming from, and how do we stop it?

The Slaughter of the Young and the Elderly

Abortion and infanticide have historically been common practices. In the first century AD, infanticide was a common and culturally accepted practice across the world. The murder of infants was a regular occurrence in Europe into the Middle Ages and beyond, despite being condemned by both church and state.

The practice was not confined to the desperate, illiterate, impoverished masses, as if “enlightened” thinkers knew better. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law, admired by Cicero, contains the command that, “A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.”

Likewise, the wealthy first century Roman philosopher Seneca once wrote, “We doom scabby sheep to the knife, lest they should infect our flocks. We destroy monstrous births, and we also drown our children if they are born weakly or unnaturally formed; to separate what is useless from what is sound is an act, not of anger, but of reason.” This from a Stoic, who supposedly believed virtue to be the highest good. Notably, Seneca was Nero’s tutor.

Infanticide was an acknowledged option for any child who was deformed, sickly, of uncertain paternity, the wrong sex, or simply unnecessary to the household. Aristotle, revered by many a university professor, wrote that, “As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared,” and “if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it before it has developed sensation and life.”

The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans all practiced child sacrifice to appease their gods. The Chimú civilization, located in what is now Peru, sacrificed more than 140 children at one time some 550 years ago. The children’s chests were slashed open, presumably to remove their hearts.

The citizens of the powerful ancient city Carthage in Phoenicia ritually sacrificed their infants. Archaeologists believe the preferred age of sacrificial infants was less than three months old. According to the writing of early AD Greek biographer Plutarch, “But with full knowledge and understanding [the Carthaginians] offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds.”

The residents of the broader region of Canaan (late second millennium B.C.) were condemned numerous times by the ancient prophets of Israel for their child sacrifice. The prophet Jeremiah, in his judgment against apostate Israel, foretold that the valley of Hinnom, where the Israelites were sacrificing children to Baal, would be called “the valley of Slaughter” (Jeremiah 19:5-6).

Evidence for both ritualistic and utilitarian murder can be gathered from around the globe. In times of famine, the Inuit would abandon the elderly (both with and without consent) or dispense of them by quicker means. The Bactrians of ancient Persia were reported to have fed their sick and elderly to dogs trained especially for this purpose. Nearby cultures were supposed to have had similar senicidal customs. Among the Massagetae, Herodotus wrote that, “Human life does not come to its natural close with this people,” but that the people sacrificed their elderly, boiled their flesh, and ate it.

Not every single community on earth had such evil practices, but the embrace of death as the first solution to a family or tribe’s problems has been wickedly banal, historically speaking.

This ended as Christianity spread its influence until most of us are horrified reading such accounts, but as Christianity starts to recede these practices come back. Infanticide (including what we euphemize as abortion) leads the way, but killing the elderly and infirm lurks not far behind. In fact, they too have made their appearance, especially in government-run healthcare, such as the British NHS.

 Tertullian, an early church father, wrote in “Apologia”: “In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb…To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.”

Somehow it’s always those who think they are our betters, like the Democrats (and a fair number of Republicans as well, although fewer than they used to be). It seems to be a mark of the elites, to murder those they deem less exalted. Like Herod, and like Governor Northam. I see no difference between them.

Missing Rooster Cogburn

You know, like many of you, I’ve become desensitized somewhat to slurs on manhood, when I first saw that infamous Gillette ad, I didn’t quite get what was so bad. A second viewing fixed that, forever. Then came Lou Aguilar to put it all in context.

[S]omething detrimental to manhood happened in the late Sixties, planting an emasculative seed now sprouting in the loathsome new commercial by Gillette. Many of you have seen the shaving giant’s ad, nagging its male customer base for such unpardonable behavior as approving their sons’ rough play, laughing at a raunchy sitcom, or, gasp, approaching a sexy young woman, while brandishing the “MeToo” movement and “toxic masculinity” like hammer and sickle. What made Gillette think it could do this with impunity — even hiring a radical feminist filmmaker to sell razor blades while promoting pajama boy docility — has roots stretching back 50 years, from the end of a once popular genre, the Western.

We baby boomers, and our fathers and grandfathers, didn’t need Gillette and its ilk lecturing us on the liberal preference for male conduct when growing up. We had the Ringo Kid, Zorro, Wyatt Earp, Shane, Matt Dillon, Davy Crockett, Paladin, John T. Chance, Rowdy Yates, the Magnificent Seven, the Virginian, the Barkleys, and Rooster Cogburn for role models. They taught millions of us boys to be strong, tough, face down bullies, protect the weak, and absolutely respect women. Not one of those men would ever abuse or force himself on a girl, or allow less virtuous types to do so.

In the first classic Western, John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939), John Wayne’s Ringo Kid is the only man who treats prostitute Claire Trevor as a lady, shaming others into doing the same. In Ford’s next Western gem, My Darling Clementine (1946), Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) realizes Doc Holliday’s genteel ex-girlfriend, Clementine, is more vital to pacifying Tombstone than his gun. Shane and his farmer employer’s wife, Marion, never act on their growing mutual attraction, out of respect for her role of wife and mother. An older John Wayne as Sheriff John Chance in Rio Bravo (1959) gets repeatedly flummoxed by Angie Dickinson’s sexual candidness. The Magnificent Seven risk their lives, and ultimate lose four, defending a dirt poor Mexican farm village. One of the seven, Charles Bronson, delivers the greatest speech about fatherhood in all of cinema, lecturing a group of hero-worshipping young boys.

“Don’t you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards. You think I am brave because I carry a gun. Well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility. For you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do this because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery.”

These were the men we baby boomers hoped to emulate in our adult life. Many of us to some extent succeeded.

You remember one of the lessons we learned from all of those films. Yep, that’s the one. There just ain’t no excuses, if you don’t get it done right, you are quite simply a failure. I’ve lived my life according to that time tested rule, as have many of you. But we’ve failed to pass it on. And this:

Yet so positively ingrained in the American male consciousness was the Western Hero, that one lone figure defied the liberal zeitgeist and continued making billions for the cigarette company he represented long after television tobacco ads got banned in 1970. The Marlboro Man rode on in print until 1999, when anti-smoking pressure and the internet finally unhorsed him. But we older guys remember him — roping a wild stallion then lighting up a cigarette, appropriately to Elmer Bernstein’s stirring theme from The Magnificent Seven. Watching him, even I wanted to smoke, and I didn’t. One of the most successful advertising creations of all time, the Marlboro Man could never occupy the same media universe as the chastened beta males currently populating the Gillette commercial. Neither can I. I threw away my Trac II in disgust.

Well, I haven’t although I considered it, but I only use the accursed thing when I have to fly somewhere, so I don’t have to buy blades for my safety razor instantly on landing. I did throw away my package of Gillette double edge blades though, I’ll stick to Wilkinson Sword from now on. If I can’t have the Marlboro Man anymore, I’ll have to make do with the defenders of Rorke’s Drift.

Puritans to the left of me

I’m not especially comfortable talking about social issues, so mostly I don’t. Although I do read about them, and sometimes comment elsewhere on them. A lot of leftists and mixed up folk have found out that I’m an orthodox Christian that way. Nor am I ashamed of it, its just that other people do a better job of talking about it. But sometimes it gets so egregious and silly, that I decide to talk about it as well. Like now. From William Murchison in The American Spectator.

[A]s Cole Porter slyly reminds us: “In olden days a glimpse of stocking/Was looked on as something shocking/Now heaven knows/Anything goes…”

Well, you know: depending on the state of Puritan politics at a given moment. The Puritan habit of scolding, and gazing sourly, on others for Improper Behavior is a human constant. And not just among long-faced conservatives, I beg to point out.

Let us contemplate — if we have to, and I guess we do — the current attempt to deplore a non-Porter song written before most living Americans were born, having fun with a guy’s attempt to coax a girlfriend into staying put amid the warmth of his apartment. The song, of course, is Frank Loesser’s rollicking duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” written in 1944 as a Hollywood party act for Loesser and his wife; subsequently made famous, and Academy Awarded, in the movie Neptune’s Daughter. The song is a hoot: “I really can’t stay (But baby it’s cold outside)… My mother will start to worry (Beautiful, what’s your hurry)/My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)… But maybe just a half drink more…” And so on. No wonder we’ve been listening to it ever since Truman was president.

But wipe that smile from your face. Various “woke” folk launched an initially successful movement to ban “Baby” from the airwaves: their idea being, the song covers up bad male behavior, including date rape.

Which aside from being ridiculously judgemental, is very demeaning to the woman played by Esther Williams who does just fine standing up to Ricardo Montalban, not to mention the delightful reprise, where the roles are switched and Red Skelton becomes the pursued. When this first brewed up, I ran the video, you can find it here. It’s been covered by almost everyone and is a very fun number.

And that is the problem, increasingly the left is reminding me of H.L. Mencken’s comment, “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” And that is increasingly the definition of the left.

Well, you know in some ways, I kind of like it. Used to be that us religious traddies had a reputation as blue-nosed, censorious, killjoys and to an extent it was true. But we were always more concerned about conduct and beliefs, we weren’t against fun (in modern times) we just had higher standards. We might tut-tut Montalban in the song for what he has in mind, but we can be very proud of Ester Williams for not succumbing. Yeah, that might be true, but it’s still bullshit, it’s very simply a very fun song with two (really four) appealing characters.

The moral understanding in “Baby” is that a morally educated girl has to watch out, and will. But life in the Truman era wasn’t a Stalinist indoctrination class. You could laugh and smile and yearn — man or woman — within the rule system, enjoying the richness of life. That privilege, seemingly, gets rarer and rarer as the Puritans and control freaks of the left shake scandalized forefingers.

Dumb? Put-upon? The women of pre-Weinstein times? They were smart in that most of them, most of the time, knew what was what and what to do about it — to the wonder of whoopee-wide-open modern folk.

Few, I trust, depreciate the awfulness of date-rape. But “Baby It’s Cold Outside” doesn’t celebrate violence and brutality. It celebrates the rituals of moral understanding that keep brutality at bay. It celebrates normal, everyday human relationships, carried on with devotion, decency, and, not least, a sense of humor.

Boy, they don’t write ’em that way anymore, do they?

UK vs the Reich

James Lewis had an article on American Thinker yesterday. In it he does a remarkable thing, he tells the truth. Let’s have a look.

Europe has a neurotic compulsion to repeat the past.  This is bad news, because nobody wants to repeat five (count ’em!) East-West wars exploding out of Europe over the last two centuries.

But – the E.U. now has a better idea.

It wants European nations to surrender to the German-French axis without a shot being fired.”Countries must give up their sovereignty and join the one-world government,” German chancellor Angela Merkel remarked generously the other day.  The E.U. Times, of all places, remarked that “[n]o, this isn’t something Adolf Hitler said many years ago.”

Everybody in that part of the world knows who runs the E.U.: the Germans, fronted by the French.  So when the charming Frau Merkel said that, most of her listeners filled in the rest of the story.  But the Brits were not laughing.

Just to keep the historical record straight:

  1. Napoleon beat the German-speaking provinces around 1800, arousing a century of vendetta wars.
  2. Otto von Bismarck used Prussian robo-militarism to invade Paris in 1871.
  3. WWI started as an enormous German-French meat-grinder, finally ended by the United States entering the war.
  4. In the 1920s and ’30s, Hitler arose in revenge for WWI, leading to thirteen years of industrialized massacres of innocent human beings and ending with catastrophic Axis aggression in World War II, including the Japanese Rape of Nanking and all the rest.
  5. But…Europe’s world wars did not end in 1946.  They just moved to the Soviet Empire, which included East Germany.  Korea and Vietnam were proxies for the U.S.-Soviet struggle.

And now we have Reich Number Six, called the “European Union.”  But the only “union” in the E.U. is the unelected ruling caste, which rules with an iron hand, while the left-out voters are getting sick and tired of the scam.

This may be why Emmanuel Macron, the German vassal in Paris, just called for an E.U. army – to use against NATO, of course.  These little voters can’t be allowed to resist Das Sechtse Reich (the sixth! in 200 years!), so we gotta get an army, now.  Because both the U.K. and France have nuclear weapons, the E.U. army is bound to inherit nukes.

Spot on, although many of us refer to it as Das Vierte Reich, because we for whatever reason do not count the proxy wars. He may be correct.

So once again as always, it comes down to that small fog-shrouded island off the coast. Can they once again, prevail? As the did against Napoleon, against the Kaiser, and against Hitler. All of those struggles have hurt them, and the Reich’s fifth column has as well, as it has America. But once again the British people have lined up on freedom’s side, as they always have. This time (as has sometimes happened before) Her Majesty’s Government is not on side. That is a problem, but it is not a new one, the British have solved that before, perhaps they will again.

Because as Britain goes, Europe goes.  Mr. Lewis finishes this way, he is correct.

Or, as Victor Davis Hanson warned about Monsieur Macron:

The French president suffers from the usual dreams of some sort of European “empire” – Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler … Brussels? He probably envisions a new Rome steered by French cultural elites whose wisdom, style, and sophistication would substitute for polluting tanks and bombers, and who would play Greece’s robed philosophers to Europe’s Roman legions: “It’s about Europe having to become a kind of empire, as China is. And how the U.S. is.”

Two years ago, more than 17 million Brits voted to leave the E.U., but the last two years have been an imperialistic E.U. campaign to stop an independent Britain from ever rising again.

The biggest embarrassment is that Britain has allowed its own swamp to be penetrated and bought off by the Franco-German Axis.

In that process, the voters of the U.K. have been lied to and betrayed many times. The allegedly conservative prime minister, Theresa May, is now seen as the biggest back-stabber in the land, and it looks as though Labor will repeat her betrayal as soon as they get a chance.

I know you did not want to hear this. Neither did I. Welcome to the real world.

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