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UPDATE: By popular demand from the Mike Church Show faithful, Chronicles Magazine has posted Jeff Minick's article "Making men Out of Boys" online. Thanks to Chronicles for their efforts to keep the conservative tradition alive and regaining its lost demographic ground. Read the entire article here and consider joining me as a subscriber to Chronicles here.
Jeff Minick has an article out, "Making Men Out of Boys", in Chronicles Magazine, he writes, "Being a man is tough. Becoming a man is tougher. In the last decade, numerous articles, books, and online commentaries have addressed the subject of the adolescent male adult. Physically and legally, he is a man; he can grow a beard, buy whiskey, join the army, and make babies. He can lay pipe, wield a hammer, deal in stocks, sell real estate, and manage a restaurant. He can do all these things and more, yet in some key respects he remains a teenager. He still regards himself as the center of the world, primarily concerned with his own wants and desires. When not working, he dresses as he did in high school. His love of toys and amusements has changed little from the time he was twelve. He defines commitment to marriage and children as obligations to be avoided. Duty is not a word in his dictionary." Check out Mike's comments on this in today's transcript...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: That brings me back to the point that so many of our problems of our age are not due purely to our politics. They are due to the people that practice our politics and to the people that demand that those people practice those politics. They are due to the fact that we have lost statesmanship and have lost virtue. They are due to the fact that in that process there, you find many of the bad things in the human character and condition that continue to plague not just one political party or another; they continue to plague the entire society. A good, just and moral people do not pass the debts we are running up onto the next generation to repay, they just don’t. A good and moral people do not barge into other people’s foreign countries and demand that they live the way we want them to, because our Declaration of Independence decries anyone who would do that, including the king of Great Britain. We just don’t do these things.
Well, this is because we’ve lost character and we’ve lost that gentlemanly, statesman-like quality that many Americans had in spades, generations of Americans had in spades, even while they were politically disagreeing, which is why I find this piece in the latest issue of Chronicles Magazine applicable to this discussion, “Making Men Out of Boys.” This is what Jeff Minick writes in part -- listen to this and see if this applies to today and to the future.
Being a man is tough. Becoming a man is tougher. In the last decade, numerous articles, books, and online commentaries have addressed the subject of the adolescent male adult. Physically and legally, he is a man; he can grow a beard, buy whiskey, join the army, and make babies. He can lay pipe, wield a hammer, deal in stocks, sell real estate, and manage a restaurant. He can do all these things and more, yet in some key respects he remains a teenager. He still regards himself as the center of the world, primarily concerned with his own wants and desires. When not working, he dresses as he did in high school. His love of toys and amusements has changed little from the time he was twelve. He defines commitment to marriage and children as obligations to be avoided. Duty is not a word in his dictionary.
Concurrent with this social trend are the dismal statistics regarding male education. Males now comprise only 43 percent of our nation’s college students, with the balance in some universities having become so lopsided that admissions officers quietly recruit male applicants. With the exception of engineering and mathematics, females dominate graduate school enrollment. The National Center for Education Statistics recently noted that for the last 27 years the number of female graduate school students has exceeded the number of males. Nearly 50 percent of the students admitted to medical and law school are female.
That boys have fallen behind girls in elementary and secondary schools is common knowledge. In 2010 the Center on Education Policy released data showing boys reading at a level ten percent below that of girls. In the same year the Department of Education concluded that while all student reading scores are falling, for the last 30 years boys have scored worse on these tests than girls in every age group, every year.
To deny that we are failing to educate boys is apparent to all but the most doctrinaire feminists. In May 2008, when the American Association of University Women refuted any “boys crisis” in education, parents and teachers alike reacted with caustic incredulity. Even at the AAUW’s own website, the report aroused a negative reaction.
This decline in male learning and maturity is the result of a 50 year assault on the old virtues of manhood. Uncle Sam has been vanquished by Aunt Samantha and her “nanny state,” whereby government has infantilized both men and women. The Pill and the widespread use of contraceptives have freed men from the obligations once associated with fatherhood. Forty years of high divorce rates have damaged marriage and created millions of matriarchal households, allowing fathers to evade their duties while simultaneously stripping young men of the example of masculinity and fatherhood. A heavy emphasis on female education, brought about by fears that girls were being denied opportunities available to boys, has made classrooms less friendly to boys, ended most all-male educational institutions, and brought about an attitude of reverse chauvinism. Television and movies—think Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Dumb and Dumber—have made the bumbling father and adult teenagers models of manhood.
Some academics and writers content that the alterations in the definition of manhood simply reflect the sea change in our culture. The code of manliness—how antiquated that word sounds, even to those who treasure it—is, these critics argue, superfluous.
Mike: You really think that? See yesterday’s comment about Ms. Gurley Brown, the original Carrie Bradshaw. So for 50 years, this assault has gone on here. This is what produces a political class. A governed class that is class-less, clueless and virtue-less. I am in that number, but I work on it. I recognize that if I don’t and if I don’t stop and try to reverse the trend, then truly there is no hope for the future. If we can’t arrest this, if we can’t start being gentlemen and dressing and acting and speaking like gentlemen and cleaning our foul-mouth language up, if we can’t start doing those things, do you really think we can fix things politically, seriously? Give me a freaking break.
Some academics and writers content that the alterations in the definition of manhood simply reflect the sea change in our culture. The code of manliness—how antiquated that word sounds . . . the manly virtues which once carried men across oceans in tiny ships and soldiers into battle no longer serve a purpose. Technology, social safety nets, sexual equality, a kinder and gentler society: these are replacing the masculine attributes of independence, hard work, courage, duty and honor. These same critics make their prophecies self-fulfilling by brushing aside what they view as patriarchal alternatives in education: bringing back trade and vocational classes to high schools, teaching boys in all-male classes or schools, restoring discipline to the classroom.
On a grand scale, the outcome of this war on tradition and manhood looks bleak. The flags come down these days without a shot being fired. You want to open a public school in Detroit for young black males, a campus stressing discipline and hard work? No way. You’re discriminating against females. Want to fill the need of young boys for more physical activity? No can do. The insurance costs for playgrounds are prohibitive. Besides, recess takes away the opportunity to teach students that the environment is going to hell and that George Washington was an oppressor.
Having spent 50 years educating boys as if they were girls, we now gape in wonder at their failure, their frustration, and their anger. Yet we must remember that ours is the age of little wars, guerilla wars, and it is by becoming guerilla fighters ourselves that we may find our hope. We can refuse the blandishments of certain educators and the government, the solecisms that pass for truth, the culture working to make males second-class learners and citizens. We—mothers and fathers, grandparents, teachers, mentors—can do battle against these enemies of manhood and give boys the tools they need to grow up.
End Mike Church Show Transcript