Friday, January 27, 2006

The Pathetic Last Children of Nietzsche's Pitiable Last Men

Awhile back, I wrote a post entitled Divorce American Style, discussing how the American political system historically bifurcated into two parties more or less mirroring the archetypal maternal and paternal spheres.

As it evolved, the Republican party came to represent masculine virtues such as competition, maintaining strict rules (“law and order”), standards over compassion (i.e., not changing the rules for members of liberal victim groups), delayed gratification, and respect for the ways of the Father -- that is, conserving what had been handed down by previous generations of fathers, and not just assuming in our adolescent hubris that we know better than they.

(If you've recently read the Divorce American Style post, just skip down to the asterisks below. The Last Men in the title is in reference to this post from last week.)

The Democratic party, on the other hand, came to represent the realm of maternal nurturance -- compassion over standards (e.g., racial quotas), idealization of the impulses (just as a mother is delighted in the instinctual play of her child), mercy over judgment (reduced prison sentences, criminal rights, etc.), cradle-to-grave welfare, a belief that we can seduce our enemies rather than subdue them with strength, and the notion that meaning, truth and values are all arbitrary and subject to change (which is true of the fluid world of emotions in general).

It has become a banality to point out that something seems broken in our political system, in that the two parties not only cannot "work together," but seem to inhabit alternate realities. Pundidiots tell us that the tension and paranoia between the parties has never been this intense. Even if this is an exaggeration, it nevertheless reflects the psychological reality of the situation -- that people feelthis tension and bitterness in ways they didn’t before.

What is really going on here? One way of looking at it is that we are seeing a collapse of the covenant between mother and father as represented in the previous maternal/paternal two-party system. It is as if we are children living in a home where mother and father no longer get along and are bickering constantly.

In fact, that is probably putting it too mildly, because the current situation has gone beyond mere arguing, to the point that the masculine and feminine spheres are no longer communicating at all and are going through a very messy and acrimonious divorce. Both sides are lawyered up and ready to go for the throat.

I believe we may trace this divorce to the 1960’s, when mother government started to become so all powerful that there was almost no role for father. Of course, this began to change in the 1980’s, when father began reasserting himself because of the cultural, political and economic chaos that hit bottom in Jimmy Carter's rudderless gynocracy, but by then, something else had happened. That is, the age old distinctions between mother and father and adult and child had begun to attenuate, leaving many people confused about their primordial identity.

For example, the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s had very little to do with honoring femininity, but generally degraded and devalued it. It largely became a vehicle for the expression of female envy, giving angry and maladjusted women license to imitate the men they envied. After all, few women are less feminine than the typical NOW activist. Nor are they masculine, however. A woman cannot actually become a man, but can only an infrahuman blending of male and female.

Importantly, this is not to suggest that a woman cannot develop her masculine side or a man his feminine side. What we are talking about is a complete nullification of sexual polarity, a kind of magical, self-imposed blindness, so that these critical differences are blended, not truly recognized, valued, and integrated.

The other main psychological mutation that occurred beginning with the 1960’s was the eradication of the differences between adult and child. Up to that point, there had been a clear difference between the spheres of adult and child, and everyone knew it.

For example, when I was growing up in the 60s, I had my interests and my parents had theirs, and there was relatively little intersection between the two -- for example, baseball with my father. But we dressed differently, listened to different kinds of music, enjoyed different activities, read different literature, liked different movies, etc.

I knew that I wasn't a man but that some day I would have to become one -- someone like my father, who worked hard, supported a family, didn't whine, had honor and a sense of duty, and had feelings but didn't necessarily give them much weight, at least outside the private sphere.

But that has all changed now. Here again it is critical to point out that there is nothing at all wrong with an adult maintaining contact with the child part of himself. In fact, doing so is vital for love, creativity, spontaneity, and play.

However, as in the blending of male and female, problems arise when the differences between adult and child are obliterated, which creates a hybrid monster that is neither adult nor child but both at the same time. This affects both adults and children, for our society has become a plague of adult children and childish adults -- that is, prematurely sexualized children who are burdened with all kinds of inappropriate concerns, and childish adults who psychologically do not grow beyond the age of 21 or so, and never enter the realm of the truly adult.

As a result, what our two-party political system has now come down to is a battle between the “blenders” and the “separators.” Nothing bothers the blenders more than adult males such as Ronald Reagan, George Bush, or John Roberts -- remember Diane Feinstein, who couldn't vote for Roberts for supreme court justice because she wanted to know how he "felt" about the law? In short, she wanted him to be more of a male-female hybrid, like herself and her constituents. Simply applying the rule of law is too masculine. We need some female “wiggle room” in the constitution.

The modern conservative movement is not just trying to preserve the traditional male element, but the traditional separation of the various spheres in general -- civilized / barbaric, animal / human, adult / child -- while the Democratic party is the party of mannish women (e.g., Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred), feminized men (e.g., Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore), adult children (Howard Dean, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, et al), and even animal humans (PETA members who believe that killing six million chickens is morally indistinguishable from murdering six million Jews, radical environmentalists, etc.).

And it is almost impossible to engage in rational debate with the adult child, who has the cynicism of a world-weary grown up but the wisdom of a child, or with the male-female hybrid, who possesses a weakly anchored reason that is easily hijacked by the passions. This is not so much a disagreement between the content of thought as its very form.

***

This divorce and blending of the male and female produces a new kind of child, one who is neither male nor female, adult nor child, religious nor rational. A recent case in point was brought to our attention in the figure of Joel Stein, an L.A. Times columnist who penned a now infamous piece about his moral contempt for our troops fighting in Iraq.

As Stein put it, it is wrong to blame President Bush for their moral turpitude. Rather, "The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying." In his magnanimity, Stein is "not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea."

Vanderleun has written an outstanding, insightful piece that absolutely eviscerates the hapless Stein. Entitled The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land, it penetrates beyond the vapid and vile (if it's possible to be both) content of Stein's essay in order to describe a much wider and more troubling cultural phenomenon. He refers the reader to a radio interview of Stein conducted by Hugh Hewitt. I actually heard the interview in real time, and Vanderleun is exactly right that Stein's hollow and lilting voice is the voice of the neuter.

Vanderleun describes perfectly the flat, affectless tone of so many of Stein's generational cohort that "tends to always trend towards a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences." Neither identifiably male or female, "there is no foundation or soul within the speaker on which the voice can rest and rise."

But "above all, it is a sexless voice. Not, I hasten to add, a 'gay' voice.... No, this is a new old voice of a generation of ostensible men and women who have been educated and acculturated out of, or say rather, to the far side of any gender at all. It is, as I have indicated above, the voice of the neutered.... "

Here, Vanderleun seems to be describing one of the inevitable consequences of the sexual and generational blending alluded to above. This "new voice that we hear throughout the land from so many of the young betokens a weaker and less certain brand of citizen than we have been used to in our history. Neither male nor female, neither gay nor straight, neither.... well, not anything substantive really. A generation finely tuned to irony and nothingness and tone deaf to duty and soul."

Reading this fine analysis by Vanderleun immediately brought to mind an article I read in the Claremont Review of books a few years ago, Wimps and Barbarians, by Terrence O. Moore. Moore addresses the question of whether or not our most important institutions of moral instruction are failing boys in turning them into responsible young men.

Moore observes that "Young men today have both hearts and minds that are in chronic need of cultivation. Specifically, they need to realize what true manhood is, what it is not, and why it has become so difficult in the modern world to achieve the status and stature of the true man."

That is, "Manhood is not simply a matter of being male and reaching a certain age. These are acts of nature; manhood is a sustained act of character. It is no easier to become a man than it is to become virtuous. In fact, the two are the same. The root of our old-fashioned word 'virtue' is the Latin word virtus, a derivative of vir, or man. To be virtuous is to be 'manly'."

Instead of a centered and grounded masculinity, our culture produces two extremes: "One extreme suffers from an excess of manliness, or from misdirected and unrefined manly energies." Conversely, "the other suffers from a lack of manliness, a total want of manly spirit. Call them barbarians and wimps. So prevalent are these two errant types that the prescription for what ails our young males might be reduced to two simple injunctions: Don't be a barbarian. Don't be a wimp. What is left, ceteris paribus, will be a man."

Stein is one of the wimps, or what C.S. Lewis called "men without chests." Moore notes that while "barbarians suffer from a misdirected manliness, wimps suffer from a want of manly spirit altogether. They lack what the ancient Greeks called thumos, the part of the soul that contains the assertive passions: pugnacity, enterprise, ambition, anger. Thumos compels a man to defend proximate goods: himself, his honor, his lady, his country; as well as universal goods: truth, beauty, goodness, justice. Without thumotic men to combat the cruel, the malevolent, and the unjust, goodness and honor hardly have a chance in our precarious world."

Naturally, "Wimps make worthless watchdogs. But their failure as watchdogs or guardians has nothing to do with size or physique.... Many of today's young men seem to have no fight in them at all. Not for them to rescue damsels in distress from the barbarians. Furthermore, wimps vote. As Aristotle pointed out, to the cowardly, bravery will seem more like rashness and foolhardiness than what it really is. Hence political and social issues that require bravery for their solution elicit only hand-wringing and half-measures from the wimps. Wimps are always looking for the easy way out."

Moore ties the phenomenon of wimps and barbarians directly to the culture of divorce and the absence of male role models in boys' lives: "Half of American boys growing up do not live with their natural fathers. The sons of single mothers lack strong men to usher them into the world of responsible, adult manhood. Divorce, whether in reality or in the acrimonious rhetoric of the mother, impresses upon the boy an image of the father, and therefore of all men, as being irresponsible, deceitful, immature, and often hateful or abusive towards women. For sons, the divided loyalties occasioned by divorce actually create profound doubts about their own masculinity. As the boy approaches manhood, he is plagued by subconscious questions which have no immediate resolution: 'Will I be like Dad?' 'Do I want to be like Dad?' 'What is a man supposed to do?'"

It is almost impossible to believe that Joel Stein had a father. Or if he did have a father, he surely wasn't a man. Stein is said to be a graduate of Stanford, so he apparently sailed through the academic ovary tower without making any testosteronic waves.

Likewise, he is a perfect fit in the hysterical precincts of the Los Angeles Times, which has been reduced to doing little more than reporting the temperature of today's unhinged liberal emotionality. According to the radio interview, his piece went through the usual layers of editors without eliciting a single untoward comment. No evidence of masculine energy or input anywhere. Not a single man to rise up and confront the boy, asking, "Do you have any idea how cowardly and dishonorable this piece you've written is? What are you thinking? Do you not know that you are unfit to polish the boots of these men you call murderers?"

How dare you stink up this place of honor, you yellow bastard! *SLAP*

Not surprisingly, Stein's piece is an out-and-out assault on masculinity, on men with honor, on men who fight, on men who make sacrifices for a higher good in order to protect the ungrateful children of a lesser godlessness. Thus, the wimp is not just a wimp. Rather, just as the barbarian always hides the wimp, the wimp always conceals a barbarian.

And with his brave little pen he shall enviously attack the virtues he lacks, and for perhaps a fleeting moment experience a spurious sense of manhood.

34 Comments:

Anonymous Bryan said...

A very interesting but highly troubling post. It's difficult even to imagine how this widespread situation in America could be changed.

I'd like to ask a question that is kind of a tangent to the thrust of your post, but I thought you might have some insight into this. My attention was caught by Moore's definition of thumos.

"...the part of the soul that contains the assertive passions: pugnacity, enterprise, ambition, anger. Thumos compels a man to defend proximate goods: himself, his honor, his lady, his country; as well as universal goods: truth, beauty, goodness, justice. Without thumotic men to combat the cruel, the malevolent, and the unjust, goodness and honor hardly have a chance in our precarious world."

Reading this, I was struck by the fact that many authentic religious traditions attack thumos as a barrier to enlightenment. I have in mind Buddhism in particular, which as I understand it seeks not to sublimate the thumotic passions but to extirpate them entirely. Anger in particular is the great taboo, and one must become entirely free of it.

This sort of thing is not limited to Buddhism, however. One may compare Jesus' exhortations to "resist not evil" or to "turn the other cheek," which I have actually heard quoted as a reason that Saddam Hussein should have been left in power, as well as his advice on how to deal with sexual desire ("If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee," etc....).

Clearly, you must not agree with these traditions since you made this post, and I suspect your reasons must be related to the criticisms you made earlier of the Buddhist and Hindu emphasis on elimination of the ego. But I was wondering if you would comment more on whether or not or to what extent you believe that thumotic passions are a barrier to spiritual growth.

1/27/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In the classical ideal, the thumotic passions of the "chest" mediate between the animal appetites of the belly and the abstract intellectual reasoning of the mind. It is a matter of the proper balance.

To the extent that a tradition tries to eliminate anger, it is a false or partial teaching. Righteous anger is needed, but only in service of what is good or moral. Again, these traditions apparently noticed that anger was a problem in human affairs, and thought that they should just jettison the whole thing instead of doing the much harder work of diferentiating between healthy and pathological anger or moral and immoral violence.

Buddhism and Christianity arose at a time when people were much more bloody, cruel and barbarous than today, so perhaps renouncing all anger was a sign of spiritual advancement and refinement. It was a very novel idea at the time to have any checks at all on one's violent tendencies.

We know so much more today about psychology than they did then, about the roots of pathological anger in childhood trauma. The key is not to split off or repress anger, but to integrate it harmoniously within the psyche.

With regard to Christ's teaching, if in saying that we should always be passive in the face of violence, he wouldn't be a very wise man, would he? He certainly wouldn't be worthy of worship. After all, if I am more moral than the God I worship, what kind of God is that?

What is the interior meaning of "turning the other cheek?" I suggest that it means not acting on impulse. It means operating from a center within, where we do not simply react in a reptilian way to the constant slings and arrows of day to day life. That we rise above our tendency to lash back in kind. He's talking about a spiritual program, not about a political philosophy.

For example, I might tell you to "watch your thoughts pass by like clouds in a wide blue sky. Identify with the sky, not the clouds." But I would not recommend that you try this if you are a surgeon operating on a patient, or a lawyer arguing an important case in court, or a police officer chasing after a rapist.

You can be a naive pacifist like the Dalai Lama, but then you have no country because you've given it to barbarians. And then you must depend upon the kindness of those who will Kick Righteous Butt in order for you to have your oblivious little safe space, where you can turn any cheek you please without being turned into a corpse.

1/27/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

I read that article and it was disturbing and Bob you explain it very well and I couldn't help but be reminded of Christopher Lasch"s "The Culture of Narcissism"

The Overpraised American

1/27/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I too find problematic the Christian drive to "turn the other cheek". Though your answer helps me understand what Christ meant by the instruction I still see alot of difficulty in its application.

IMO that phrase seems to have been ripped from Christ's story and asserted as a stand alone precis of His message which I don't think tallies with the rest of his 3 year mission.

It seems to me that that phrase has been distorted into YOU must turn the other cheek, i.e. not a spiritual and personal task but an outward political task put upon the backs of others. It has become a dogma that causes paralysis to righteous action.

That I should turn the other cheek does not suggest that I should stand by and make others turn their cheeks. As you say "With regard to Christ's teaching, if in saying that we should always be passive in the face of violence, he wouldn't be a very wise man, would he?" Yet that seems to be the essence of the Catholic Church today.

I am sorry if I have brought this OT but I would like to know how you recommend one goes about becoming a "man" and how one incorporates "pugnacity, enterprise, ambition,..." and especially "anger"?

1/27/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes pat, that statement of Christ's is often ripped from context. Jesus did battle in the Temple, his followers were carrying swords right up until the Crucifixion, and he never advised the soldiers he spoke to to give up their jobs. While pacifism has turned up from time to time in the Church, it is surprizingly rare. The more common nonmilitary belief is that the individual Christian has more important things to do than be involved in earthly battles, but -- and this is the neglected part -- there is neither shame nor sin for those who do so at need. St. Francis and St. Dominic offered no criticism or condemnation of each other.

The modern Christian pacifism dates from the social movements of the 1930's, and I believe owes more to socialism than to Jesus. Notice that pacifism didn't get big in the Church until we were fighting socialists. Hmm. Niebuhr started in this view but ultimately rejected it. For further reference, the doctrine of the two swords, based on Paul's letter to the Romans would reward your study.

On a lighter note: PJ O'Rourke wrote a similarly themed essay on why God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

As to the Lewis quote, I will note for GB's readers that it is from The Abolition of Man, perhaps the most prophetic book of the mid-20th C.

1/27/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Bryan,
The Christian desert fathers spoke of the incensive (or irascible) powers and the desiring powers of the soul; both, when indulged, grow into passions and sinfulness, but both are inherent parts of the self, to be mastered by grace and the will.

Your post is a valuable addition to Vanderleun's important one. (This may be the most socially useful thing Joel Stein has or ever will do.) I'm a little troubled by your and Gerard's implication that this is something that mostly affects males; only males can be neutered, only males choose to become or fail to become men. These may be the most striking and visible examples (and the ones that personally affect us), but there are females in this age cohort with exactly the same behaviors and lack of commitment, the same isolation of themselves from the great and tumultuous current of life.

I've always called these people pre-adults, but now I'm beginning to question that. It implies that they could always move on, and escape from the developmental backwater they've paddled themselves into, when what they really are is the hybrid child/adults you describe, having chosen another developmental path entirely. Are they unadults? Anadults?
Tell Petey we need a term here.

1/27/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Adultolescents.

1/27/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How did that get cut off? I said "adultolescents."

1/27/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

"the doctrine of the two swords, based on Paul's letter to the Romans would reward your study"

Thanks for that AVI! I always pay attention to your input and suggestions!

1/27/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This post and Van Der Leun's are perfect examples of why I love the blogosphere so much. Two very insightful, well-written, thought-provoking pieces posted with immediate relevance to something the old media generated that, even ten years ago, would have passed with no more criticism than a couple of "letters to the editor" - that the editors got to pick, and got to edit.

Now, with respect to "One extreme suffers from an excess of manliness, or from misdirected and unrefined manly energies. The other suffers from a lack of manliness, a total want of manly spirit. Call them barbarians and wimps" - I am reminded of a Usenet poster's sigline that I thought very astute:

To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.
To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized,
merely the domesticated. – Trefor Thomas


And the domesticated are so often neutered, aren't they?

1/27/2006 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

great post,bob.

disturbing,
but very topical.

how would you connect it to
the works and writing
of say a Robert Bly
or a Sam Keen??

they waded into some of these waters only to be laughed away
or to vaporize from any sort of meaningful punditocracy.

Robert Campbell,and his
"Hero of a Thousand Faces"
is part of the "contemporary tradition" of calling "all religions equal"...thus at some fundamental level saying "all religions are meaningless,ultimately"...in addition to encouraging many Americans to miss the impulse at the root of Islam entirely.

Keen and Bly and Campbell were all part of a late 20thC attempt to re-examine manhood.

not to put too fine a point on it,
but the butchery of mechanized warfare has done a great deal to devalue manhood as it was underestood for a very long time.
i see these writers as doing what they did in the face of that.

my opinions of these writers aside,
that, on its own, took courage...
many prefer to hide from the issues altogether.
these authors attempted to
search the meaning of contemporary manhood.

the nobility of the
spirit of sacrifice,
and the necessity of courage
have,of course,never left the scene.
_______________________________

"contemporary tradition"(there's an oxymoron: "this week's greatest idea of the century").

1/27/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous yeasandno said...

Gosh....what a post. It explains so much.

I remember in the early '70's when my fellow feminists (and the use of "fellow" and "feminist" is not just coincidental) would go around and state that a real women was always a "female" and no matter how "unfeminine" she was, that would never change.

In essence, you could throw out all the cultural aspects of being feminine and get to the essence of who they were--females. From this position, I guess, it is therefore necessary to destroy what is female and male to make "equality" work. By that I mean that once the cultural differences are eliminated, the only way to the eliminate the "actual" differences to to eliminate that which is female...i.e., being 1/2 of the natural division of life. If you eliminate woman needing "men" as fathers or even as impregnators, then you become more equal in their eyes.

Abortion eliminates then need to be maternal when you engage in what is a "female" role. Artificial insemination means you can have a child sans physical contact with a grown male. And "it takes a village" allows you to believe that children raised by a lot of "mothers" makes a more perfect society.

True equality for all of them is the elimination of everything else...no competition with men in any way, shape or form exists when there are no men to compete with.

The structure of our political life reflects this. What started out as choice for women ended up being no choice for anyone...such is how "victim" politics always results in more "victims".

It is divide and conquer at its most destructive level...

1/28/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Paulos said...

A truly superb essay.

1/28/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

this tidbit seems to fit Bob's thread.
from another forum i post at,
was this question and reply:

Thread Topic:
'When did you first feel like a "Real Adult"?'

Reply:
"At age 23 when I went to Europe by myself for the first time. It wasn't one of those "3-month backpack across the continent" deals...just a nice 2-week vacation. As I sat in a café one afternoon, it suddenly dawned on me that I was actually alone in a foreign country, and that if I needed assistance in an emergency, it was more likely to come from the U.S. Embassy than from my parents."

one gets the distinct feeling
Joel Stein has never had such an epihany.

1/28/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Bilgeman said...

Gag Bob:

Nice post.

"The sons of single mothers lack strong men to usher them into the world of responsible, adult manhood. Divorce, whether in reality or in the acrimonious rhetoric of the mother, impresses upon the boy an image of the father, and therefore of all men, as being irresponsible, deceitful, immature, and often hateful or abusive towards women."

One wonders what kind of fathers such sons will make.

Of course, we can already see.

Most urban areas have a federally subsidized matriarchy within them of at least 4 decades' standing.

The Projects.

Regards;

1/29/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger 90 said...

Interesting article Bob, I am just thinking who are the loved ones who will bring these people to a crisis siutation where they get help?

1/29/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Vir Cotto said...

Hear, hear! This post reminds me of a couple of classic essays by other men who have also noticed how the erosion of gender roles has grievously damaged Western civilization. Specifically, this essay by Kim du Toit and this one by Steven Den Beste. (I had to link to Steven's essay at his old Road Runner account because his current site is down while he's moving his server.)

1/29/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger kobekko said...

Thanks, G-Bob - lovely as always. You are a quality provider of the thinking man's flensings.

I'd like to dedicate this comment to my father. Thanks, Dad.

1/29/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Archonix said...

Hi, I found this post through a long series of links from places. I have to say, it's one of the most inciteful things I've read for a while. Thinking abotu it, I find that we here in the UK are being afflicted with a similar problem, to the point that these emasculated me are already in power.

I have another reason for posting, though. Several people have pointed out the Christian idea of "turn the other cheek". As with may things christian, this verse has become divorced from its historical context and lots its original meaning. In ancient judea, and most of the middle east at the time, slapping someone in the face was considered to be quite an insult. Worse, if you backhanded someone, you were implicitely denying their existence as an equal by virtue of the fact that your palm was facing away from their face when you hit them. The command to turn the other cheek served, therefore, to promote an agressive response in the person being slapped because, by turning the other cheek for a repeat performance, they forced their attacker to acknowledge their existence and equality.

1/31/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger USMale said...

I often find myself between a rock and a hard place, as a gay man of rightwingish viewpoints. I will say this, though: My work in life has been to become a man. In fact, the value of the masculine is central to what makes me gay. Not just the packaging, but the spirit, the soul, the mind. Unfortunately, in order for men like me to find some public space to live out our lives, my community has used the frankly anti-male ideology of lefty feminism to devalue the very masculinity which we say we want to participate in. (Talk about internalized homophobia). There are and always have been all kinds of men. And as I have learned from some of my straight male friends, you can have the masculine style without the guts of masculinity. But there have also always been all kinds of boys who never became men, regardless of their erotic objects. That is one of the traps that gay men can fall into. It is not essentially who we are, but being un-yoked to the ancient archetypal powers of the marriage destination, it is easier for us to live untethered lives. (This is not per se an argument for gay marriage). What pains me is the extent to which gay men seek either to avoid the question of "becoming a man" or else slither into postmodern feminist deconstructions of the very notion, meeting the issue with ironic pseudo-sophistication ("Well, what could that possibly mean, anyway, in a post-patriarchal setting?".
Our roads to manhood are varied and are different from the classical (straight) males', but we have them, and we have to travel them. Otherwise, we never become a central part of who we are: men. It pains me that most gay men do not see that their political and cultural friends are in part an obstacle to our flourishing.

2/01/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Larry said...

I don't know if it is a good analogy ... the judges almost automatically award custody of the children to the mothers and then mother proceeds to use the kids to make the father's life a living hell because she now has the power.

If you're analogy is carried thru to the end, the democrats (mothers) will win in the end and make the republicans' (fathers) lives hell.

2/01/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you please explain the title? it doesn't quite link with the article. " of Nietzsche's Pitiable Last Men"

Why is that? Nietzsche stood in opposition to the denial of "thumos". How are twerps like Stein his children.

2/01/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To paraphrase Nietzsch, he referred to the "last men" as those unheroic souls of our decadent age who live in a pitiable comfort and are too self-satisfied to even despise themselves. Their luckless spawn are the "last children." Just a figure of speech.

2/01/2006 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If

2/03/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Emancipated said...

#!#!##!!#******#****# ATTENTION DADDIES WITH NO RIGHTS!#***#******** #!#!#!#!#

Planet Dadulon is a cool little website set up with the intention of communicating with, and helping dads who are not allowed to see their children because of the mother's wishes. We are a Scotland based organisation and have already enlisted the aid of a constituent MP, who has in turn contacted the Scottish Executive for Justice over the matter of fathers not having AUTOMATIC PARENTAL RIGHTS. We NEED you to add your name\alias to our list in the BLOG to help us PROVE that fathers who cannot see their children are NOT the minority.

2/15/2006 04:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It used to be argued that war should be avoided at all cost because the best and fittest men were killed in battle. The ones at home were the unfit, the weak, the timid. This war has revealed the enormous difference between various types of men. And real women know who the real men are... the ones who serve bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ones who serve their communities as firefighters, police, EMTs. There is hope.

2/27/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Haakon B. Dahl said...

A commenter extended the analogy through the custody phase. Interesting. I suppose that the thing to do in order to prevent our incipient gynocracy (loved that!) from gaining custody is to have the balls to say steadily, icily, "There will be no divorce".

Lincoln did, and to our immense benefit. The details differ; the resolve must be the same.

6/14/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Haakon B. Dahl said...

In fact, here's the comment Larry made:
I don't know if it is a good analogy ... the judges almost automatically award custody of the children to the mothers and then mother proceeds to use the kids to make the father's life a living hell because she now has the power.

If you're analogy is carried thru to the end, the democrats (mothers) will win in the end and make the republicans' (fathers) lives hell.


Actually, I have to agree and disagree with you. I disagree, and think that it is a good analogy. I agree, and think that it doesn't look good. The crucial role is that of the judge, which in the analogy could only be the UN.

Where the analogy breaks down is that the US doesn't have to accept the UN's decisions as binding, but will if the mommiecrats run the show.

6/14/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're analogy is carried thru to the end, the democrats (mothers) will win in the end and make the republicans' (fathers) lives hell.

And they will produce (not procreate) an ever-shrinking population of wimps, perfectly domesticated to stock the slave markets and harems of the Faithful -- when the hypermasculinity of Islam cuts their throats and pillages their pretty toys.

2/20/2007 04:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pathetic ones are just part of the picture. There's another side: others who are of disordered temperament, violent, and aggressive.

11/27/2008 12:34:00 AM  
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