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Only Men Can Man the Barricades, pt.II

T.J. Harker

Only Men Can Man the Barricades, pt.II

Any serious understanding of the decay of the West must account for feminism’s role in that decay. We must confront the fact that our perverted culture, unrestrained appetites, astonishingly incompetent government, and deplorably idiotic elites, are the product of a few bad ideas. Among those bad ideas is feminism. It’s time we reckon with this fact: the widespread decline of the West is largely the consequence of the widespread success of feminism.

In part I, I explored the harm brought to American women by six decades of feminist thought. Beginning with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, feminism quickly assumed the contours of a liberationist theology. It promised to free women from a thousand years of cultural norms and a million years of biological imperatives, all without any serious consideration of the consequences. For women, the consequences were disastrous, resulting in large-scale increases in diagnosed psychological disorders even as psychological disorders were defined out of existence. Gender dysphoria, alcohol abuse, and mental-health disorders, among other stress indicators, exploded. At the same time, birth rates and marriage rates fell as did, predictably, overall life satisfaction. These high costs were supposedly offset by the elimination of patriarchal barriers to women’s career ambitions. With the annihilation of those “barriers,” a small percentage of highly intelligent and hard-working women were “liberated” to work 80 hours per week at the nation’s stultifying law firms and grasping investment banks, often (though not always) ending up single, childless, and lonely. Today, the West is awakening to the increasingly obvious fact that this was a raw deal for women.

It was also a raw deal for men.

In seeking to liberate women, feminism unleashed a series of assaults on men. Second-wave feminism first announced its presence in popular culture with hits like Helen Reddy’s 1971 I Am Woman (“I am woman, hear me roar”). Reddy sang that women were “invincible” and could “do anything” once men came to “understand” that men were in the way. In retrospect, this only seemed like the harmless exaggerations of early second-wave feminism. Surely men were not the only obstacle to invincibility? But reality-denial was latent in feminism from the outset. In fact, feminism reflected a major cultural breach, one that replaced the natural and balanced complementarity of the masculine and the feminine with outright antagonism. Men became the enemy of women’s progress. Thus, any time women failed at anything, men’s bad behavior was supposedly to blame. The problem was that the data didn’t back this up–there simply was not enough individual discrimination by men to account for the various sociological gender gaps.

Given the shortage of actual examples of discrimination, feminists grasped for ways to explain the different social, commercial, career, athletic, scientific, artistic, and political achievements of women without resorting to the obvious fact that men and women have different biological imperatives that create and sustain different cultural roles. Feminists found their stalking horse in disparate impact theory.

Having witnessed its success with the racial-grievance hustlers, feminists redeployed the artifice of disparate impact to try and explain the reality of difference between men and women. Disparate impact is the pseudoscience by which discrepancies between arbitrary and non-random samples are attributed to invidious discrimination—no null hypothesis needed. Are women only 28% of law firm partners? Men must be bigots. Do female professional soccer players make only 25% as much as professional men? Misogyny. Are less than half of surgeons female? Old boys’ club. Women leaving the workforce to raise children? Patriarchy. Today, disparate impact, despite its lack of explanatory power, is accepted at face value among all sorts of incompetent people and entities, foremost of which is the United States Government. Indeed, disparate impact is the weapon of choice by which feminism seeks to destroy men so as to undermine the West.

Since there weren’t enough individual men behaving badly, feminism generalized its assault. The cause of the oppression of women was quietly changed from men behaving badly to men behaving as men. Though it originated two decades earlier, “toxic masculinity” entered the vernacular around 2015. Curiously, the definitions of “toxic masculinity” and “masculinity” were indistinguishable. Both pointed to things like chivalry, ambition, intelligence, planning, mental fortitude, and physical strength by men, all of which were considered near-universal virtues for most of the long history of the West.

In reality, however, the addition of the adjective “toxic” was a sophisticated form of psychological warfare—a linguistic device intended to reorient the culture’s attitude towards masculinity by turning it negative. Feminism’s goal was not to distinguish toxic masculinity from masculinity per se, but to erode the value it placed on masculinity. Other linguistic oddities like “mansplaining” performed similar roles, in that case suggesting that any time any man explained any idea in any way to any woman, something bigoted must be afoot. The gynocracy’s vitriolic response to essays like this is case in point.

Having habituated the people of the West into believing that women should not be feminine, the feminists had every reason to believe they could gaslight the culture into believing men shouldn’t be masculine. They succeeded beyond the wildest fantasies of even our most avowed foreign adversaries. Today, nearly every American institution has implemented the anti-masculine ethos advanced by feminist ideologues. Universities teach “toxic masculinity” as though this blinkered dogma is evolutionary fact, schools prohibit boys from playing tag as though it is an existential risk, local governments prosecute men who defend themselves and others, the American military pretends it can increase “force readiness” by “taking seriously the threat of rigid masculine norms,” and the Boy Scouts change its name to “embrace inclusivity” by admitting girls. The list is long.

Feminism’s manifest aim is to weaken, marginalize, demoralize, and enervate women and men. It has succeeded. I don’t mean to place all the West’s decline since 1960 on feminism; but, directly or indirectly, most of it belongs there. This really shouldn’t be too hard to believe: after all, Ideas Have Consequences and feminism is a terribly destructive idea, subsidized by hundreds of billions of dollars and shilled for 60 years by regime propagandists. The anti-real “idea” advanced by feminism, for purposes of this essay, is that masculinity, and masculine men, have no beneficial purpose. For men, however, gender-based purpose is at the core of their being. This gender-based purpose is the consequence of a complex interaction of evolution and culture.

Today, lack of male purpose is apparent in a wide assortment of social indicators. Many have become fat, dull, lethargic, anesthetized, and intoxicated. As of 2022, 33% of American men were obese, up more than 100% from 60 years earlier. Men’s labor force participation rate is at the lowest level in the country’s history. In 1970, men earned a majority of bachelor’s degrees but today earn nearly 50% fewer than women. American men die from overdoses at three times the rate of women, with more than 80,000 men dying in 2022 alone. Marriage rates have collapsed. It is not a coincidence that men and teenage boys commit suicide at four times the rate of women and girls. You don’t need a psychologist to understand that all these social ills are closely connected to meaninglessness.


Men With Purpose Built Civilization

The problem with feminism’s assault on purpose (for both women and men) is that it is opposed to Western culture, which is the product of a long evolutionary process. As such, feminism is fantastically destructive. One hundred million years of natural selection, and probably not less than 1.2 million years of sexual selection (if you use the start of the Pleistocene as the date when modern homo sapiens emerged), acted as repetitive intergenerational filters. These filters selected in favor of men with the capacity to display the right “fitness indicators” for the purpose of reproducing. Reproducing, of course, requires women. In this way, the selective pressure on men to impress women manifested in men developing the traits women preferred. These include masculine traits like chivalry, ambition, intelligence, planning, mental fortitude, and physical strength. But it also included their physical and ideal manifestations like buildings, roads, crops, vaccines, discoveries, and theorems.

You are the direct descendant of an unbroken line of a thousand generations of men with sufficient capacity to do what was necessary to impress the women they desired. They did this by building nearly everything you see and discovering nearly every idea you’ve ever heard. As I explained in part I, masculine men literally built our civilization. They also maintained, improved, and defended it. In this way, feminism’s assault on masculinity is also an assault on the civilization of the West. By denying meaning and purpose to men, feminism seeks to deny the very force that created the West.

Masculinity is unusually impotent against the yawning chasm of existential meaninglessness. To endure meaninglessness is, by definition, without purpose. One does not endure meaninglessness for women, children, families, communities, or nations. It is the absence of responsibility for those things that is the cause of meaninglessness for men, just as men’s responsibility for them is the source of abiding purpose. Though crass, Dave Chappelle’s take on Nietzsche is true: “if a man could fuck a woman in a cardboard box, he wouldn’t buy a house.” This Twitter-length synopsis of the consequence of sexual selection can be taken much further. Men didn’t just buy houses for women, in large measure men built the entire infrastructure of civilization for them. It is not wholly unrealistic to say that men built everything as a byproduct of ritualized courtship display for the purpose of propagating their genes. Building Notre Dame was a powerful masculine fitness indicator—the human equivalent of the peacock’s plume.

There is a deep irony here: men became masculine and built civilization in part to impress women; but feminism, an idea so bankrupt that it can exist only in the decadent wealth wrought by civilization, sought to change men. It sought to change men by making them less masculine (even though women prefer masculine men) which, in turn, made men less likely both to do the things that built civilization and to derive meaning from doing so.

Today, feminism requires that men not derive purpose from building, creating, discovering, exploring, fighting, or inventing, even though evolution and culture selected for those capacities. Thus, men are cast adrift, left to their own aimless devices without a clear understanding of what went wrong or why.

For an increasingly large portion of men, this absence of purpose coupled with an excess of metabolic energy must either be suppressed or find an outlet in meaningless hedonism or wanton destruction. For boys, this means that fake diagnoses like ADHD are used recklessly to justify unending prescriptions for things like Adderall (prescribed more than 40,000,000 times annually!), which serves the demasculinizing purposes of feminism perfectly. It also manifests in things like gang violence by blacks and Hispanics.

But, if the gang types have at least the hormonal energy to chant and hop and foam at the mouth on the tomb of civilization, other men lack even that spunk. Instead, they capitulate to the most basic of all appetites and masturbate to digitized photons colliding with their retinas in patterns their cortices register as desirable. Internet pornography is rampant, and as much as 81% of people wish obscenity laws would be “vigorously” enforced.

In all these cases—violent young men, pharmaceutically-anesthetized boys, and pasty hedonists—we see the consequences of feminism run amok.  It induces men to squander the grand inheritance bequeathed by the men who built the great cities, discovered the calculus, refined the common law, perfected constitutional republicanism, held the line at Gettysburg, stormed the beaches at Normandy, and broke the surly bonds of Earth. Feminism provides for men’s lowest appetites to induce them to abandon their noblest aims—it doesn’t so much want men to fail as not even to try. It’s a death cult.


Restore the Men, Restore the Civilization


For most of the history of the West, masculine and feminine balanced one another. In a sort of dynamic crucible, men built the infrastructure of our civilization, while women curated and refined the best forms of masculinity, improving it in the process. Indeed, the term “masculine” is simply a label for referring to those behaviors that survived the filtering processes of natural and sexual selection. This is another way of saying that masculinity was “selected” by femininity and by nature because it is desirable to women and adaptively fit. It is the cause of our civilization.

Today, the West is in decline because feminism perverted the ideal forms of men and women by denying the biological and cultural foundations of both. To restore our civilization, we must restore masculinity in men and femininity in women. This will require that men and women reject the prevailing orthodoxies of feminism, first by recognizing that men and women have a proper station commensurate with their different biology, and second by acting accordingly.

Unfortunately, many men are demoralized and confused, physically and mentally weak, afraid, and lacking in vitality. To fix this, men must acknowledge the biological and cultural imperative to improve themselves along every axis for most of their adult lives. Rest when you’re dead. Weakness is not an excuse. Men must also celebrate feminine women–women who are elegant, chaste, beautiful, mysterious, motherly, tender, compassionate, and loving. Such feminine women are the perfect complement to masculine men. At the same time, men must reject the longhouse and the harpies and the neutered ethos implied by both. Starve them into the dustbin of history. That last point should be relatively easy, as feminists aren’t particularly fecund.

Similarly, many western women are possessed by a toxic brew of ideological nonsense that has destroyed femininity. This nonsense defies two-thousand years of Western custom, mores, and traditions and more than a million years of natural and sexual selection. It has no basis in cultural or biological fact and will, in time, be destroyed as its inertia wanes. Women can accelerate this process by rediscovering the essential role they played in building the West through their preferential selection of masculine character traits. They must encourage men to adventure, build, compete, discover, explore, fight (sometimes), give, help, and invent.  At the same time, women must demand that our cultural institutions teach girls how to restrain their appetites while encouraging modesty, elegance, beauty, charm, steadfastness, loyalty, and sacrifice. They must learn to give wise counsel to men and boys, channeling, refining, and improving their character while loving them in a deep and abiding way.

Many men and women will object. This is to be expected since restoring our civilization will be hard work, and feminism is replete with sound bites masquerading as arguments for not doing hard things. But the good things are the hard things. You know this to be true. Go back into the world and act accordingly. Our civilization—the West—depends on it.

TJ Harker is the General Counsel of a Knoxville, Tennessee company. Until recently, he was a federal prosecutor, where he investigated and tried national white-collar fraud and espionage matters for the Department of Justice. He recently launched Amicus Republicae on Substack and occasionally writes for The American Mind.

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