Lately I’ve been much given to thinking about action / reaction phenomena in our sociocultural milieu. Some of it comes from having pondered the following extremely observant statements at great length:
The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it. – Adolf Hitler
Hitler imposed himself upon the world both by promoting Nazism and by forcing the democracies to become zealous, intolerant and ruthless. Communist Russia shapes both its adherents and its opponents in its own image. – Eric Hoffer
Indeed. The reactions to the fascist and communist phenomena – both of which are inherently collectivist – were eruptions of counter-collectivism, imposed politically from above. Such counter-collectivism was the genesis of both the regimentation of American society during World War II and the swelling national security state – the “military-industrial complex” Eisenhower deplored – of the Cold War years.
Now, it’s easy to build a case that those things were instrumental in gaining our victories. Not airtight cases, mind you, but plausible enough. However, the justifications matter less than the reactions themselves.
Something similar is happening due to the intensifying “war between the sexes.” Feminism, which has torn loose from its early, equality-before-the-law roots, has become a collectivism that will suffer no divergence and is implacably hostile to men in every dimension. Our reaction has been to erect a collectivism of our own. Call it neomasculinism or the red-pill mentality; either way it’s a collective massing that exhibits an analogous hostility to dissent, albeit at a lesser amplitude.
Consider the sentiments in this article at one of the most prominent current neomasculinist sites. This bit strikes me as highly significant:
Even if you manage to find a unicorn that you’re not sexually or romantically attracted to, is a reliable person, and doesn’t exploit you, why would you bother? What value can a woman possibly bring to you as a friend? Do you actually believe that friendship between men and women should be normalized?
Like a wine that gets mixed with water, the more you spend time mingling with females as their buddies, the more diluted your masculinity becomes. The feminization of men is a true phenomenon and I have no doubt in my mind that inter-sex mingling is both reinforcing and augmenting the problem. I’ve personally witnessed many pathetic men who’ve spent far too much time with girls and have adopted their feminine speech and behaviour. I probably would’ve mistaken them for homosexuals if I didn’t know them any better.
The author seems to want a firm social barrier between men and women: a barrier that permits essentially nothing but explicitly sexual relationships. Granted that that’s not quite as bad as contemporary feminists’ outright rejection of men in all ways, it’s nevertheless an Us Versus Them construction that creates an implicit demand for conformance to a creed.
Time was, the ability to see and relate to women other than as purely sexual objects was regarded as healthful, even praiseworthy. Neither sexual relationships nor non-sexual relationships were supposed to preclude the other sort. The sexes certainly got along a lot better then. I defy anyone to argue otherwise.
It was the rise of gender-war feminism, especially the insertion of its tentacles into education and entertainment, that evoked this sort of reaction. “They’re trying to feminize us!” makes a most potent war cry. And indeed, to the extent that that’s the case, it can and must be fought as fiercely as possible. But I can’t see it as a reason to regard the fairer sex as objects for copulation but nothing else.
Collectivism of any sort squelches individuality, and therefore the creative potentials of the individual. Only those who reject collectivist dogmas can make progress, whether for themselves or for their societies. That makes it a supremely terrible irony that the venerable masculine ideal of the man true to himself and his values no matter the opposition should be replaced by a gender-war doctrine of women as inherently untrustworthy, forever potential enemies even if not enemies in fact. Surely we have enough real, visible enemies not to need to alienate half the human race.
Women are not men. We cannot and should not attempt to make them into men, the old song not withstanding. But that doesn’t mean a man can’t enjoy the company and friendship of a woman without larding sexual ambitions onto it in every case. It would make every marriage into a demilitarized zone. It would subconsciously encourage mothers to lure their children away from their fathers – in particular, to indoctrinate their daughters into feminist attitudes. And let’s not forget our workplaces, the great majority of which now employ about as many women as men. If we can’t get along cordially there, the suffering will be more than personal.
I seek a return to the original masculine ideal of the Enlightenment West: He who consciously embraces and always exhibits the manly virtues. He who can read Kipling’s great poem about masculinity and say, “Yes, I qualify.” Kipling, a very masculine man, wrote poetry and children’s stories that were among the best of his era. He also penned some of the most rousing adventures ever written. He ranks among my favorite writers...and somehow I doubt that he regarded women as mere bodies to be exploited at convenience.