Henry David Thoreau famously said that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”. A century and a half later, his words still resonate. In the US, men die by suicide 3.6 times more often than women. From Los Angeles to Louisiana, millions of American men are lonely and desperate. For years, masculinity, the set of attributes and behaviors that separate males from females, has been demonized. The vast majority of the demonization has come from left-leaning commentators, many of whom consider masculinity to be toxic. Instead of offering solutions to help the men of America, the Left offers nothing but ridicule and scorn. But what about those on the Right? What are they offering? More importantly, is what they’re offering any good?
In short, no. Here’s why.
Josh Hawley, the junior United States senator from Missouri, thinks he has a solution to the masculinity crisis sweeping across the land. The 42-year-old has a new book coming out soon, provocatively titled “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues Americans Need.” According to the book’s description on Amazon, the country’s founders “believed that a republic depends on certain masculine virtues.” Senator Hawley “calls on American men to stand up and embrace their God-given responsibility as husbands, fathers, and citizens,” because a “free society that despises manhood will not remain free.” Strong words. But, I ask, is Hawley qualified to offer prescriptions on masculinity?
This has nothing to do with him running away from a mob. Let’s be honest, only idiots run towards a mob. Sadly, Hawley’s philosophies ring hollow, largely because he is spouting 20th century ideas in a 21st century world. He is preaching a gospel of masculinity delivered through the prism of Christian nationalism. Hawley’s advice comes at the very same time more and more Americans are turning away from all religions, Christianity included.
Hawley, like so many others on the right, speaks about the importance of marriage. Although the institution of marriage is very much the backbone of modern-day society, that backbone is badly damaged, a fact that seems to be lost on so many right-leaning commentators.
This is not the America your parents knew. No, this is post-marriage America. Not long from now, the unmarried will be the majority. As Aaron Clarey, the author of The Menu: Life Without the Opposite Sex, says, post-marriage America will see people date “in perpetuity” until the day they die. Women, not men, are the reason why.
Unless you happen to live under a rock, you’re probably familiar with the term “strong, independent woman.” In the US, “strong independent women” rule with an iron fist. But what are these women independent of, exactly? In one word: men. As Mr. Clarey told me, on women’s list of priorities, marriage now sits in 5th place. Their number one priority? Independence, basically a synonym for career.
This goes a long way to explaining why the country’s marriage rate is at a 120-year low. Marriage has been demonized, and this demonization has a lot to with demonization of masculinity and men in general. Often referred to as a tool of the patriarchy, marriage, we’re told, is an “inherently unfeminist institution,” a construct that must be destroyed. Feminism, in its original form, may have helped women initially, but the metastasized version has destroyed many aspects of society. The idea of tearing men down to lift women up is, at best, silly. At worst, it’s downright dangerous. Men and women are complimentary; we are better together than we are apart. An obvious point, for sure, but a point that is lost on so many American women.
I reached out to Rollo Tomassi, the best-selling author who has written extensively on the likes of intersexual dynamics and the institution of marriage, for comment on the matter. In The Rational Male – Religion, Tomassi refers to monogamous marriage as “one of the bedrocks of success for Western civilization.” Marriage, he argues, was once “a good idea,” but not anymore. Today, he told me, marriage is “one of the worst prospects imaginable for men,” largely because society has moved from the idea of covenant marriages to contractual marriages. This is a point of vital importance that is rarely discussed.
Covenant marriages, in Tomassi’s words, describe “how it should be done – religiously, personally, and devotionally.” For millennia, covenant marriages were the rule. Today, however, contractual marriages are the norm. According to Tomassi, they are “the worst legal contractual liability a man can enter into.” This is because the contractual marriage “is based on mutual support and an assurance that this support will continue even if the marriage itself dissolves.”
Contractual marriages are closely associated with no-fault divorces. In simple terms, no-fault divorces don’t require a showing of wrongdoing by either party. In 1970, Ronald Reagan, a notorious bed hopper, signed the no-fault divorce law into effect.
Today, American women find 80% of men physically unattractive. This is somewhat understandable. After all, 54 million men are overweight (34 million are obese). However, it must be noted that American women are not exactly the picture of health, with one in five now classified as obese. Less than a decade from now, one in two American adults will be obese. The United States is fast becoming a more objectively ugly country, and this ugliness will hurt men more than women.
You see, women are, by default, hypergamous. That is, they are more likely to want to marry into a higher caste or social group. In other words, men are more likely to settle for average or below average women. So, then, what does an above-average man look like in the eyes of an average or below average, American woman? Besides being physically attractive, a man must also be economically attractive. Perhaps you are familiar with the 666 rule, where a guy must be six foot tall , make six figures per year, and possess six pack abs. This is what women want. Now, ask yourself, how many American men do you know who tick all three boxes? How many tick one of these boxes? Not many, I imagine.
For the fortunate (or unfortunate) few that do pass the test and get married, I have even more bad news for you. Some seventy percent of divorces are now initiated by women (thanks, Ron). That number jumps to 90% among college-educated women. In modern-day America, women make up 60% of college students. Not only is it getting harder for men to find a respectable woman to marry, those who do find a wife are faced with a high chance of being divorced.
In Modern Romance, a book co-authored by the comedian Aziz Ansari and the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, the duo discuss the fact that marriage, not that long ago, was “an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship.” Of course, modern day women “still want their partners to give them all these things, but in addition,” wrote the authors, “they want men to be their best friend and their trusted confidant and their passionate lover to boot.” Idealistic, delusional, call it what you will; expecting this from any person, be they male or female, is both selfish and unfair. This is a time when perfectionism is on the rise. One needn’t be a psychologist to recognize the fact that the refusal to accept anything short of perfection is detrimental to society and romantic relationships.
Perfection is an illusion, but try telling this to millions of modern day women. While you’re at it, try telling this to many on the right who do nothing but tell men to “man up”, get married, and start a family.