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I work for my family, not society. Society is now possibly anti men in some ways but in the "good old days" it was completely indiferent.
What Fred said.Why should I care what society thinks about what I do? I think it's good work and meaningful and it provides for my family. That's enough.
""What do you think, should men continue to produce for a society that devalues them and their work?""An honest question and one that pushes a lot of hot buttons for your truly. The answer, and better for all of us I believe, is that most men in our culture strongly self-identify in part through their vocation. In simple terms, that means that most men want to work.It seems that's what many of the younger guys in the next generation are doing.The work ethic in this crop of kids is pretty damned bad. Just my two cents, but I think this has a lot more to do with not being challenged to mature as early as previous generations did. They are also not challenged to rise above mediocrity and taught that "everyone is special so why keep score during soccer and baseball games?". This has a long-lasting damaging effect.
Society isn't magical like women are.Guys want the approval of their mate, not of society.The nagging of men in the media is for some other audience.
Feminist chickens coming home to roost IMHOKeep telling men long enough that they are all abnormal and unneeded, and you get men that don't feel like they have obligations to society or family.Said less PC:You get all men behaving like today's Black men.A trend that ultimately bodes poorly for women and their children.
@rhhardinGuys want the approval of their mate, not of society.Agreed. I'm a better person and strive to improve because of what my wife and kids think, not society.That having been said, though, men in mass media (advertising in particular) having really been taking a beating over the past ten years. I'm actually concerned about the effect it will have on my two little girls' opinions of men, fathers, and husbands. I can only hope I have a positive enough influence on it to counter the advertising onslaught we all live in every day.
The work ethic in this crop of kids is pretty damned bad. Just my two cents, but I think this has a lot more to do with not being challenged to mature as early as previous generations did.I don't think that's it. I think it has a lot more to do with the precipitous decline of marriage and much later average age of marriage. Take MadisonMan's point above. Why should he care what society thinks, it's enough that he provides for his family. Well, what about the many young men like myself, with no long-term girlfriend, no family, and no particular desire to impress others or work for society's sake? Why should I work any more than I need to to provide for my modest wants and desires? The obvious answer is that there is no reason for me to do so. But our modern world was largely built by the vast surplus production of young men. Atlas is, in a slow and undeliberate manner, shrugging.
I don't think anything is different. You pretty much find the same kinds of men, good and bad, in any era. The difference in our era is that we're obsessed with putting the spotlight on the unimpressive--we're obsessed with the mediocre. Past eras mostly emphasized the heroes and those who modeled excellence, whether in good or evil. So, it seems like there's a big change but I doubt there is. Also, I suppose, is the fact that single men, in times past, had significant more geographic opportunities. A single man could leave the city or town and go West. There's no where like this to go, so the sorts who became miners or cowboys or farmers or whatever end up staying in society, to be obsessed over by others.
I just laugh off all the stupid things said about men and the portrayals as idiots in TV ads and shows. And as Fred said, I worked for my family, not for society.But not everyone is thick skinned. There is a cumulative effect which could induce men to adjust their behavior to the stereotype and estrange men and women because so many women (the more educated to more credulous, sometimes) come to believe the narrative.We live in a time of mindless stereotypes, amplified by media and so called experts. Somehow we think it's better because the stereotypes are not as race based as in the past. It isn't.
I don't think anything is different. You pretty much find the same kinds of men, good and bad, in any era. Every single high school teacher that has more than 20 years experience, that I've talked to at least, disagrees with this and points out that things are getting worse.
About 20 years ago, Warren Farrell wrote a book called "The Myth of Male Power." It was an unvarnished view of the societal structure that imposes burdens on men and favors women, including the incredible unfairness of what is called family "law."As some of the comment here confirm, it is the concept of "family" that burdens men economically and emotionally.While it is a choice, I doubt in most cases it could be described as one entered with rational thought.Not that there's anything wrong with it. I think I'll go see how well Farrell forecasted the furture, if I can find the book.
The work ethic in this crop of kids is pretty damned bad. Just my two cents, but I think this has a lot more to do with not being challenged to mature as early as previous generations did.I remember my grandfather complaining about the lack of younger generation work ethic back in the sixties. As I see it, families used to be production units; now they are consumption units. Growing up on the farm, everybody had to contribute within their abilities. During the Depression, every member of my dad's multigenerational household had to bring money home. But, after WW II, even getting kids to pick up after themselves was a struggle.
The separation between men's desires and women's desires is being taught in all TV and Movies. That works. Once they see each othern as in the way instead of part of a team that wins and loses as a team, then why should they go there. Think of Terrel Owens on a team. Why bother. IMO patriarchy works as a football coach in charge calls the plays works. But separation of the male and female team mates loses. Why be a loser like TO?
"What do you think, should men continue to produce for a society that devalues them and their work?"The jobs that pay more (and thus must contribute more to society) are more soul satisfying and rewarding. Women are better able to tolerate boring and mindless jobs because their egos are not bound up with their work.
Speaking as a woman with a husband who has an overactive work ethic (he sometimes works 7 days a week and is called out at all hours) I agree with the I work for my family statements.I don't understand the concept of "working for society". I mean, We give our time for community projects, Chamber of Commerce, school booster club etc. But I don't know what "working for society" means in the context of this discussion.My husband (and I) work for ourselves and our family. To create a better life, to care for each other and enjoy each other. What more should there be?
"I don't understand the concept of "working for society""It's called commutarianism, communism, socialism....Or simply collectivism.
"Women are better able to tolerate boring and mindless jobs because their egos are not bound up with their work.'Tell that to my wife. And then I'll call the medics for you.
The jobs that pay more (and thus must contribute more to society) are more soul satisfying and rewarding.Often not the case. Jobs that pay more frequently entail much more responsibility, demands, and concurrent stress. Some jobs pay more because they are dirty, hard, and unpleasant, like plumbing repair. Some jobs pay more simply because institutional barriers prevent lower-priced competitiors, like doctors and lawyers. Some jobs that pay little are very soul-rewarding, like police officer, schoolteacher, artist, or musician. In fact some of the most soul-rewarding jobs are the ones that pay nothing at all.
don't understand the concept of "working for society". I mean, We give our time for community projects, Chamber of Commerce, school booster club etc. But I don't know what "working for society" means in the context of this discussion.In this context, I think it simply means feeling a social pressure to be a net producer rather than a net consumer. Society benefits when people produce more net value than they consume. Capitalism has such a powerful economic engine because of the incentives it provides people to do just that. But the argument is that a substantial amount of this surplus production was undertaken by men for noneconomic, i.e., familial reasons. Get rid of those motivations and the economic incentives to produce will have to rise as well.
By the way, all economic activity that is not engaged in to serve the Rich Investor Classs's ego needs, derives from the men and women teaming up to procreate and to spend$$$ raising their children. Ask the Catholic Church how that works. It is men and women living as they were designed to live, and it is easy to do. The National Campaign of Shaming normal heterosexual marriages as a lesser form of living comes from the enemies of all men and women. Why do you think Andrew Sullivan despises the Palin family so much?
"Well, what about the many young men like myself, with no long-term girlfriend, no family, and no particular desire to impress others or work for society's sake? Why should I work any more than I need to to provide for my modest wants and desires?"Except for the young part, this is me too. Yet, I work a job and even more time for charity and others. I don't do it for society or anybody else - I do it because it needs done and I can do it. That is what healthy men do. They fix, build, create, protect and play. Like ants, we can't help it, if we are, and want to remain healthy and happy. I do a lot of charity work for entirely selfish reasons - I like it and it makes me feel good. I need it like an ant needs to dig a tunnel. A man does not confront this if he has a young family, as I once did. That keeps you so busy that you never have the option to waste your time. Once that job is done, you realize you needed it and must find something else. Men who do not work, wither or worse.This is why societies with too many men without work become so dysfunctional. It's not the poverty, it's the lack of work to do. Sometimes the work is there, but the culture does not value it.
I am in my mid-thirties, have had a responsible job for almost a decade and been married for about 6 years, but I admit that I never really felt like an "adult" until we had out little one this year. Up until that point, there was always the option to just walk away - my wife and I are both fairly well credentialed and frugal, so there was no compelling economic or logistical reason that we couldn't just say "screw it" one day and walk away - either together or apart. Add in the kid and all that changes - suddenly you are really the breadwinner for a small, helpless human creature, and also for a formerly fully independent adult who now has to devote a lot of her time to the aforementioned little creature. Now I truly understand why old-school companies like IBM really preferred family men - it is basically a ton of leverage, a guaranty that you will do whatever is necessary to keep the paycheques coming in.
Ann said... What do you think, should men continue to produce for a society that devalues them and their work? Or, should they produce for themselves and let others pick up the slack?"Even the Lefties don't buy the idea that their money should go to help those "at hope". That's why Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire have gone so blue in the last twenty years - they fled the People's Republic of Taxachusettes because they realized taxing the filthy rich meant THEM!!!(same occurred in NV and AZ with people fleeing CA)
Crying about how hard it is to be a man is a poor strategy.You don't get respect for having problems, but for overcoming them.
You don't get respect for having problems, but for overcoming them.I don't think that's true any more. These days, the victim, the retrograde, the needy - they are the ones who demand respect, and receive it. Average guy making his way through the world? Bottom of the fucking totem pole. Why? Because he accepts his place there, doesn't complain, doesn't demand redress. But you know what? This is completely by design.You see, a man who fixes his own problems cannot as easily be controlled. You have so much less to threaten him with. He is not as inclined to suffer grivances for the sake of convenience. Therefore, he is unwanted in today's society. He is a nuisance. He doesn't play ball. He needs to be stamped out. This undertaking is well underway, though I ultimately believe it will fail.
"Every single high school teacher that has more than 20 years experience..."What's funny is I know high school teachers too. I know one in particular who takes completly illiterate juvenile delinquents and teaches them reading and writing, exposing them to classic literature, and helping the find hope in their education. Kids are able to learn far above what the school systems give them credit for. Maybe it's not the students. Maybe it's the profession. Or maybe, nowadays, it's a strong mix of both. It's the case, after all, that this article isn't about high school students. It's about men in their 30s and 40s, the sorts that the 20+ year old teachers had back in the "good ol' days". Which means that the article is more about the teachers generation than the students generation. It's also the case that a vast swath of students used to be entirely left behind, with a much larger number of people without high school diplomas in years past. So, the students who remained tended to up the averages. People are people. Students have always been slackers. Men have always tended to wander, be individuals, go exploring, hike West, work the mines, join the army, go questing, become monks, wander away from society. Indeed, society exists, we might say, because a fair number of people wander away from it and do their own thing, and sometimes have something to show for it later down the road. There's also the fact that this is another one of those New York Times "people I know are part of a big trend" articles.
Did anyone catch Bill O'Reilly last night? He had a segment on Oprah in Copenhagen, which showed her being escorted by a beautiful blonde Danish woman, who was showing the heavily muffled American talk show host around Copenhagen.The Danish woman was touting the great social programmes which the Danish State offers it citizens.(Paraphrasing)"Just imagine, you don't have to work or marry to get health insurance. Everyone has it at the moment of their birth!"(Oprah, pretending to have heard of this situation for the first time ever in her life, with dead-on mimicry of Michael Moore in France, in "Sicko")"So wait, you tell me that a woman doesn't have TO MARRY A MAN TO GET HEALTH INSURANCE OR TO SURVIVE IF SHE LOSES HER JOB? That they can marry a man for LOVE and not like they do now, for benefits??"I seriously wanted to punch Oprah after watching that. Hey honey. Just because you hate men, or people from your background primarily want a man for their ability to pay your rent and groceries, doesn't mean the rest of us were raised like that.The world isn't a ghetto, where life would be so much easier if the government would support you, without any effort on your part. Moocher. Man hater. Get lost lady.
Oh, snap. Here's the Youtube of Oprah "finding out why the Danes are said to be the happiest people on this earth".The wide-eyed befuddlement about women not needing men, starts at 1:15 when the Danish girl says it's not every Danes' dream to have a big wedding. Oprah does the Moore wide-eyed schtick of "It's noooot?!", which usually follows with a put down of Americans and what they do, versus what the Rest of the World does (implying that this is much superior).
Sofa King @ 11:44 - That rings very true to me and a good insight. Although I don't think many progressives sit around saying we need to get rid of those pesky providers, they do see them as obstacles that keep getting in the way. Successful people are just too lucky or greedy you know.
Every Dane, man or woman is married to an American for the benefts of not having to be a Russian, or German and for having their "free" health care not be limited to 1970 medical technology. Can you imagine where the U.S. would be if we had a foreign nation that provided all our and the world's military protection. Now add to that that this nation buys and innovates enormous amounts of our products and keeps demanding more of our business.This is what European nations get from us. Imagine how wealthy and debt-free we would be.It's kinda like your teenager bragging about how he doesn't have to go to work like you.
Others have already said it. Men don't work for society.Incidentally, I don't see how single people not owning homes has something to do with "giv[ing] up on being the producers in society and let[ting] others fend for themselves." If I were single, I wouldn't own a house. Big deal.
Can you imagine where the U.S. would be if we had a foreign nation that provided all our and the world's military protection. Now add to that that this nation buys and innovates enormous amounts of our products and keeps demanding more of our business.This is what European nations get from us. Imagine how wealthy and debt-free we would be.It's kinda like your teenager bragging about how he doesn't have to go to work like you.Bingo.
I would agree with those above who suggest that much of this is a result of feminism, but not in the outward way some have suggested.The problem is that women have managed to decouple supporting and raising families from marriage. Some get the state to support them, and others use the heavily biased family law to extract a living from the fathers of their kids. What they don't do is stay married to the guys. Most divorces are filed by women, who, regardless of fault, almost always end up with the kids. And the guys end up supporting them.What marriage and fatherhood has done over the ages is give males a reason to work long hours, take chances, and work generally to advance themselves. This is critical to our economy, because that energy is a good part of why we are as rich as we are, as a society. But to some great extent, this great effort is no longer being rewarded by society. They no longer have the benefits that come with marriage (including sex) and fatherhood. But are yet expected to continue to pay.The result is a backlash by a lot of young males. If they aren't going to benefit from the system, then why should they work hard at it? It makes more sense to take a somewhat marginal job and spend your free time playing, if there isn't a reward at the end of the hard work. I should add that one of the problems with the "hook-up" culture is that sex is less available for many, if not most guys. Why? Because a small number of guys get much of the booty. And the rest get almost none.
I particularly love Edward Abbey's quote;Young men should be explorers of the world.Middle-aged men should be the producers of useful things.Old men should be explorers of the mind....awesome in the truest sense of the word.
"Young men should be explorers of the world.Middle-aged men should be the producers of useful things.Old men should be explorers of the mind."It comes naturally that way if men are not denied the challenges they crave. Lately they have been denied by easy living and a smothering culture.
So I'm one of those irresponsible single guys. My production is probably around the median, and because I'm not providing for a family, that's plenty. I have a good life with low stress, I can pursue things that make me happy on my own terms and schedule and don't have to compromise much. And I like to think that my happiness helps make those around me happy as well.I know a lot of people find great satisfaction in their families, and a lot of you are proclaiming that here. My siblings seem to. (So I'm not judging anyone, and I'd love it if those who live differently from me would be open-minded enough to reciprocate.)But out in the world, among the middle-aged guys I know and work with, I'd say those people are a minority, by the numbers. I see guys who are beaten-down, tired, and spend their lives just dealing with/putting up with stuff that fills up their day every day. They are terribly compromised by responsibilities they might not have fully considered before they took them on. I honestly find it tragic, especially if I knew their younger, freer, happier selves.I have women friends who say it's my responsibility to society to jump in that gene pool and keep contributing. I see how society as a whole benefits from riding hard-working surplus-producing guys, but it's harder to see how the guys benefit, and I don't think I want to assist the society that is willing to take advantage of them. I think a growing number of guys are just figuring out that they don't have to.
@fivewheelsSteve Martin kind of backed into a classic quote that pretty much sums up your comment in the movie "Parenthood"."My whole life is have-to"Another was from my mother..."Children do not bring you happiness. They bring you joy."I'm 39 with an oldest son (previous marriage) in college, a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a newborn. The rational part of me says that this isn't the way to do it and that I should be finishing up at this point, with the fruits of my labor increasing going toward MY enjoyment.And that's the rub. Happiness is intrinsically an interior thing where you are satisfying a need...selfish in other words. Joy...well, joy is something else entirely.I'm one of those tired, harried types right now, finding solace in my wife, my woodworking and, fleetingly, in the love of my children (in between tantrems, messes, diapers, etc).But it DOES even out. Problems of toddlers get replaced by problems of tweens and teenagers, but they really do start becoming a lot more fun and interesting after the whole binky stages are over.Personally, I'm looking forward to 7-12 for each of them. The boy will still think I'm pretty much a demi-god and the girls won't have turned completely into drama queens. Hopefully they'll still think boys are ickie at that point too.What was the incentive to get married and have kids? Good question considering neither my wife or I wanted kids when we got hitched. Five years and a very happy young marriage later...we just did. I don't regret it at all.Yet.Thank God.
"I don't understand the concept of "working for society""Isn't 'working for society' what our 'taxes' are supposed to cover?
Again, that's great for you, Scott, and for my sister, and my neighbor Dave. But not for everyone.Life is tradeoffs. With any luck, your choices create tradeoffs that work in your favor in the long run. But in a free country with real choices, not everyone should make the same choice, and not everyone should desire or be expected to desire similar outcomes. I can say I've had experiences that could not possibly have happened had I married my college girlfriend, and at this point I feel like that's a good trade. Maybe not a no-brainer, maybe not lopsided, but still a good deal.
I hear you fivewheels. I see that side of it a lot. Men raising families are like robotic servants, and the wives too of course. That does not get considered very often ahead of time. of course if it did, we would be extinct.The truth is that either life path, family or none, has it's payoffs and costs. It's possible to be quite happy and productive to society either way. We need to accept that of each other. We often dismiss the lifestyle we did not choose, in order to validate our own. It really is not necessary. They both are just fine. I've lived both and I'm now single without children. I recommend doing both if you can manage it. There are two non-tragic ways:1) Have a family young and live long.2) Raise someone else's children and move on.I chose #2. I loved it and still do.
I'm not criticizing your choice, fivewheels. In point of fact, I got my fill. Yours too and probably a couple of others...lol. I got married at 20 and was divorced by 22. I didn't remarry until I was 29. In between...(censored).Consider this, though, which is probably what tipped the scales for both my wife and I when we were considering starting our own family. It seems a sad truth that people have a very difficult time projecting themselves into the future or seeing themselves as old. I know it is for me and a lot of people have admitted as such to me. What I believe will make all the craziness worth while, aside from the little victories I score every day and the auroras of love from my daughters and son, is the fact that when I'm old and broken down, I will be surrounded by an entire extended family of people brought into existence by my wife and I. That's really stunning when you think about it in the abstract. Abstract is the only way to think about it because given the overwhelming joy I get here and there from my kids now, when I'm old and responsibility has passed completely on to my next generation, GRANDKIDS...that's what it's all about. I have every intention of spoiling them rotten and being the coolest grandpa around.
Baghot 20: "Men who do not work, wither or worse."Easy, Bag Boy, that's me you're talkin' about. There has been some withering going on since I retired, but it has little to do with not working. It's most obvious every time I see myself in a photograph.
Men should cease being productive. they should adopt a life of pleasure, that only takes from women and never gives.Women have been telling us, for half-a-century now, that they hate men.Men, it's time we simply believe women. They hate us. Go your own way, men. Women are only fit for sex. Take it at your pleasure.As for work, it's time women do the heavy lifting in society. They've earned it.
Victoria, re: your Oprah quote, I'm right there with you. The fact that the people who say these sorts of things align themselves with feminism drives me up the wall. Double-X (the Slate girl's club) wrote a piece the other day saying basically that same thing, that govenment needs to step up and cover the costs (like they do in Canada and France) so that women can have more of an ability to "date and mate." I just about had a heart-attack over the way the writer, like Oprah, assumes women to be incapable of caring for themselves without government acting as daddy. It sickens me.
John Galt, where are you when we need you?
lyssalovelyredhead wrote, "[Slate's Double-X said] govenment needs to step up and cover the costs" and then wrote "[Oprah] assumes women to be incapable of caring for themselves without government acting as daddy. It sickens me."Heh.It something that's rarely discussed, but women consume two thirds of all the healthcare in the US. Men are already subsidizing women.The best thing for men to do is - quit. Stop it. Let women do the work. Sit back. Live a life of leisure and pleasure, breathing in the abundant and high quality sex that is so freely available these days.Women are the problem in our society. Let them fix it.
Just because society devalues men doesn't mean men should devalue themselves. This is a fight worth having - especially regarding "no-fault" divorce - and we should gather ourselves up and defeat it. I "won" my divorce, but what I went through, what I was faced with, will never be forgotten. It deserves to die. We can do it.Vow to take it on.
Or you can just say, screw it. One of the things I appreciate about Dr. Helen is her apparently authentic libertarian temperament, as revealed by her sympathy for people who just want to do what they want to do. Every time someone is complaining about us lazy bastards and she writes something to the effect of, "If guys want to be left alone to play videogames, chill out and just let them do it," I swoon.I'm not against the Emcee's fight per se, but Bioshock 2 is coming out, so I'll be kinda busy.
This is a fight worth having - especially regarding "no-fault" divorce - and we should gather ourselves up and defeat it. Absolutely.fivewheels, when you're on your deathbed, you want to be thinking back on your awesome games of Bioshock? Surrounded by your game cartridges? Maybe you do. But maybe that harried life you mentioned earlier has a great big payoff at the end of it.
Well, I only mentioned Bioshock because Althouse has played it. The point being, what I choose to look back on fondly and what you choose I am sure are different things, but I'm not sure you realize that it's possible for them to be different. As I noted earlier, I'm able to see other people's viewpoint and not look down on it. Are you?
As I noted earlier, I'm able to see other people's viewpoint and not look down on it. Are you?I am capable of that, yes. Does that mean I do in every case? No. Also, I wouldn't characterize my reaction as "looking down on" you, but I am questioning it. Just saying that maybe there's more to life than that.Jeff Y. is acting like a posturing, misogynistic fool. No better than than the man-haters he condemns all women for. How you react to him is of no concern to me.
Oops. I posted that before you deleted your other comment, so ignore the part that applied to it.
"Vow to take it on."I don't vow. It's just too dangerous, as you well know.
More to the point of the original article, I'm not going to be reminiscing about waking up early to shovel snow, either. My purpose was not to turn this topic into a back-and-forth of someone bragging about the love of their grandchildren and others bragging about single debauchery or whatnot, though if you want to play that game I can. Believe me, I've thought about what I'm doing (which is a lot more than playing Bioshock, and a lot more than mowing the lawn), and I've thought about what I'm "missing." The topic is questioning traditional roles. I'm all for it, just as I was when women did it. I don't like the idea of telling everyone they should all want to look back on the same picket fence.
That's fine. But if you're going to question one sort of life, you shouldn't be surprised if people question your alternative. Also note, you have no idea what you're missing. You've never been there.I'm not advocating that anyone run out and get married. I'm just saying that being closed off to the possibility of meeting someone you'd want to marry might make you miss the best opportunity of your lifetime. (And if you do meet such a person, please know that you don't have to mow and shovel if you'd rather not. People get paid to do that, or there are rentals.)
Closed off to possibilities? Not me. It's ironic that you should try that angle of criticism, because you have to admit: Closing off possibilities is pretty much the central pillar of marriage, for good and ill.
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