The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘It’s Tough to Be a Man, Baby!’

Posted on | June 24, 2013 | 67 Comments

The title line from the unfortunately forgotten 1983 comedy D.C. Cab came to mind today when I encountered yet another reaction to the controversial new bestseller by Dr. Helen Smith, Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream–and Why it Matters. It seems that everyone has an opinion on this book, one way or the other, and a pseudonymous contributor to Ricochet offered his own anecdotal reflections:

Here’s a bit on Fox and Friends discussing it. One quote from the book pretty much sums up the problem as seen by the author:

[The] new world order is a place where men are discriminated against, forced into a hostile environment in school and later in college, and held in contempt by society. Maybe there is no incentive to grow up anymore. It used to be that being a grown-up, responsible man was rewarded with respect, power and deference. Now, not so much.

While all that is true, I think it misses another, possibly bigger, dynamic, namely that being a man is hard. . . .
While the things pointed out in the book may be true, I think the real reason many men are abandoning traditional roles is plain old-fashioned selfishness. Society pushes self first in every aspect of our lives. Selflessness and sacrifice are scorned. Boys are taught about their rights rather than instructed in what is right. The author is wrong. Real men were never in the marriage/family game for what they could get out of it; rather, they were in it because it is the right and good thing to do, even if it’s hard.

Although I hesitate to quote anyone saying flatly that the InstaWife is wrong (!) certainly the Ricochet commentator has a point: A stoic commitment to duty, without regard for narrowly selfish interests, is the essence of responsible manhood. My father worked 37 years at the Lockheed Georgia plant in Marietta not because he had no other ambition beyond the factory gates, but because providing for his family was his foremost obligation as a man. And very few young people today, male or female, seem to understand that old-fashioned idea.

Yet this does not prove Dr. Helen wrong. The incentives that once encouraged men to do the right thing — the sensibility of duty — were complex and layered, not simple and superficial. Our culture once venerated Great Men who by word and deed exemplified that nobility of character required to accept responsibility for failure, and to quietly pursue the course of honor, rather than to scapegoat others for our misfortunes and dishonestly seek undeserved glory.

No man should crave a respect he has not truly earned, nor resent the humiliation for any failure that was within his power to avert.

In every enterprise we undertake, therefore, we must do everything within our power to achieve success and, should our efforts fail, blame only ourselves: “It is all my fault.”

People don’t think that way any more. Craving a good reputation in a superficial culture, they concern themselves with the external representation of virtue, rather than its true essence, and lose sight of the distinction between seeming and being.

A society that celebrates victimhood has little regard for the spirit of loyalty and humility that endures hardship without complaint. It is precisely these manly virtues which deserve more praise, and which are instead stigmatized by the radical egalitarian obsession with “rights.”

And you should buy Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream–and Why it Matters.




67 Responses to “‘It’s Tough to Be a Man, Baby!’”

  1. Richard McEnroe
    June 24th, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

    It was good enough for Alan Alda…”Yeah baby! Empower yourself! Take charge of your secuality! Here, I’ll help! Let me hold your ankles for you…

  2. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 24th, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

    Why would it madden anyone? If you are happy, good for you. I think you misunderstand. And most men can make a sandwich–but there is something special when you find the right partner who will make one for you.

    I mean those feminists on Portlandia maybe be a stereotype, but they work as a stereotype for a reason…

  3. Bob Belvedere
    June 24th, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

    Well put. One Quibble: I would have used the word ‘neurotic’.

  4. Quartermaster
    June 24th, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    I prefer ‘psychotic’ but I was trying to restrain myself and be nice.

  5. Quartermaster
    June 24th, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

    That’s ’cause to a feminista husbands are just the “Rapist in Residence.”

  6. Wombat_socho
    June 24th, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    Go buy a stylebook and learn how to write. Until then, if you talk like you write, nobody listens, to paraphrase Lou Reed. “Billions,” indeed. LOL.

  7. robertstacymccain
    June 25th, 2013 @ 12:01 am

    What makes marriage work is commitment — an act of will, a determination to build something permanent. Once you can get it in your head that you’re in it for the long haul — ’til death do us part — then the rest is really just details.

    If you want to understand what has gone wrong with the modern family, you can start by reading “The Divorce Culture” by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead.

  8. robertstacymccain
    June 25th, 2013 @ 12:02 am

    Holler back when you’re dying alone.

  9. rsmccain
    June 25th, 2013 @ 12:22 am

    @AdamBaldwin Hey, remember “D.C. Cab”?

  10. Patrick Carroll
    June 25th, 2013 @ 1:40 am

    I will confess that my dad, a WWII, Korea, and Vietnam vet used to go on about bailing on us – my mother, me, my brother, and my three sisters. That really gave me no sense of security,

    (Among my siblings, we’ve agreed that his military experience left him with nothing to give. He was wore out.)

    Fortunately (well, as I saw it) he died before he could execute on any of his expressed plans, so my mother got to raise five kids on a SSgt’s retirement pay, and her ingenuity.

    I showed an early interest in Chemistry and Physics. Working as a nurse at the Regional Hospital in Galway, she used to grab surplus chemicals (in very small quantities) and help me with my little chemistry set (hydrogen sulfide a given.)

    I’ve no doubt my other siblings got what she could give. Still, I’m sure I – generator of stench – was easier to manage than my artist sister, Teresa.

    The other part of her ingenuity was getting me a low-cost, high-quality education at RC boarding schools that were feeders to seminaries (Maynooth, in Ireland of the time). I recognized the pervasive homosexuality early on, realized I had no vocation, read Physics at university, and ended up a thoroughgoing atheist before I was 20.

    To be perfectly frank, my mother was a better man than my father.

    What else could she do?

  11. Patrick Carroll
    June 25th, 2013 @ 2:08 am

    Oh, God! Ever had the Irish Breakfast (served all day) at The Olde Blinde Dog pubs in the Atlanta area?

    Hold off on the soda bread and baked beans, add a double helping of white and black pudding.


  12. Patrick Carroll
    June 25th, 2013 @ 2:10 am

    “we could sleep around without going into some deep relationship ”

    I’m not cute. I am not warm and cuddly. I am actually cold and prickly.

    Case closed, IMHO.

  13. SDN
    June 25th, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    Sorry, McCain, that boils down to “Why are you complaining, wuss?” Name me a single other group than hetero men (and especially WHITE men) to whom that standard applies. If it did, there wouldn’t BE an NAACP, NOW, ACLU, and 90% of the trial lawyers.

    No, the correct stance is “Don’t piss down my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

  14. SDN
    June 25th, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    You HAVE a husband, Big Daddy Government. Wait until he runs out of money…..

  15. rmnixondeceased
    June 25th, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

    We are 3 lucky SOB’s then, we found the yin to our yang!

  16. RMNixonDeceased
    June 25th, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

    “Here’s to swimming with bowlegged women!” — Bob Belvedere

  17. Jaynie59
    June 26th, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

    I gave up on Ricochet less than a month after it was launched because I saw it for what it was. A bunch of phony conservatives no-labels fools. The last podcast I listened to there was a couple of says after Andrew Breitbart died because there was a link to it on one the sites I read and at about the 12 minute mark one of the participants said he got so sick of Andrew always talking about the “narrative” and they all laughed and joked about it. I hit X and haven’t been back there since.