Denying our inner self

Posted: March 26, 2022 by ng36b in Uncomfortable Truths

Unherd had a rather interesting article about young men and war, making the claim that as war (at least, large scale conflict) has become more infrequent due to the threat of nuclear weapons, men are increasingly struggling to find ways to prove their manliness. The military was always an outlet for manliness and a way to prove that one was no longer a boy. It’s a good read, albeit a bit long and heady. I particularly liked this part:

And while that has many upsides, it has also, paradoxically, created disaffected young men. For when national identity is infra dig, and open warfare is discouraged lest it set off nuclear Armageddon, what’s left for young men who thirst for danger and intensity?


The author isn’t in the military, so there’s actually two additional points that she could make to even further strengthen her argument. First, when the military has responded to conflicts, we purposely ratchet back what we’re doing. Look at Afghanistan or Iraq as an example: rather than go all out and push hard to win, we were content to conduct “policing actions,” or use drones, or do a variety of other things that don’t look like real battles in World War 2. If you’re a young man fighting in a war like this, after the initial invasion, it simply feels like you’re never making progress. It makes the conflict feel pretty hopeless, not dissimilar to how men felt in World War 1 simply holding the lines day after day.

The other point is that the military spends most of its time in non-war oriented industry. Your chief of staff probably cares more about whether medical records are updated and mandatory transgender, human trafficking and suicide awareness training is completed than if you’re actually ready to fight your next conflict. This sad state of admin comes from a giant defense bureaucracy that is larger than any other nations defense budget, yet can’t seem to stay ahead of its adversaries despite all the money foisted on it. Worse still, the same bureaucracy can’t audit itself and can’t seem to trim any fat when called to do so.

But I think Ms. Harrington has hit on a much larger, much more important point, perhaps without even realizing so, and that is that our society seems hellbent on putting young men in a box where they can’t use their manliness. Some quick examples:

  • The trades (electricians, plumbers, HVAC, etc.) are all “manly” jobs, and they make really good money and require a lot of technical expertise…and yet they are viewed as lesser jobs compared to an office worker.
  • All male organizations barely exist. Remember when the YMCA was only open to men? Yeah, me neither. Having a fraternal organization is deemed sexist, but “safe spaces” for women are still open.
  • Speaking of male organizations, remember Boy Scouts? Nope, its Scouting BSA.
  • Remember all the shooting, hunting and boxing clubs we used to have?

These are just a few points, and I bet you could find more. Traditionally male activities have been pushed away as second tier. It even trickles down to schools, where boys don’t get enough outside, running around and being wild time, and then we are shocked when they have behavior issues. We’re then totally surprised when many of them don’t want to sit in a college classroom, so they can get a safe office job.

If it sounds like the plot to “Fight Club,” well, that might be why that movie became a cult classic.

Western society is wasting male talent. Society takes male energy and tells men it is bad. Surprisingly, many men rebel against that, putting that energy into everything from crime to underground boxing. Many take that to the military, only to find a bureaucracy more focused on sustaining itself than on fighting our nations wars. In a sick sort of way, the military bureaucracy seems quite happy to destroy young men in the meatgrinder of endless conflict as a way of keeping them out of the higher ranks either due to dissatisfaction or death.

Instead of continuing to denigrate men, we ought to help focus them. Bring back the shooting clubs and fraternal organizations, where older men passed on skills and wisdom to younger men in a non-judging way. Stop denigrating the hard working men in tough industries like construction, mining and forestry, which are the bedrock that a polite society rests on. Rethink how we fight, and capture that imaginative energy from young men to dream up better plans and technology so that our wars can quickly come to an end.

Most importantly, stop telling men that their desires, passions and anger are evil. One of the best books I read was Make Anger Your Ally by Neil Clark Warren (yes, the dude that built eHarmony). In his book, he doesn’t tell the reader to deny his anger. Instead, he talks about how anger gives us additional strength when we need it most, and how to channel this strength towards good. Rather than denying our emotions as some sort of remnant of poor evolution, Dr. Warren teaches that these emotions are put their by God for a good reason, and we should be using them to the maximum extent possible.

Society works best when it embraces all the strengths of its population, especially its young men.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you like this article, please support the author by purchasing one of his books on Amazon or Audible.

  1. […] Friday, also, The Intersection Of Integrated Delusion And Institutional Dishonesty Da Tech Guy: Denying Our Inner Self, Viking Adventures On Netflix, and Bubbles, Battles, & Reality Don Surber: A Team Of Governors […]