From Harvey-flooded Houston to the Hamptons, what the feminists call “toxic masculinity” is helping make America great again.
As soon as the high winds abated, while the rains were still deepening the flood waters, dozens and then hundreds of them came, unbidden, to rescue their fellow Texans. Then more arrived from the “Cajun navy.”
We’ve all seen the pictures of them. Men, many in camo hunting gear, driving their 18- or 20-foot boats propelled by outboard motors to rescue people from the homes flooded by the storm.
One AP photo went viral. It showed a woman, baby cradled in her arms, both carried by a man through hip-deep water. My gal pal Katie Tweeted the picture, adding “Looks like that toxic masculinity the gals whine about comes in handy when the s**t hits the fan #menrock.”
That got me to thinking.
Boys fight among themselves. It’s a natural thing that can erupt over any slight or whim. At PS 4 in Yonkers, New York where I went from kindergarten to sixth grade, fights broke out all the time. I won some and lost some. I remember one of my pals, Gary, being beaten up by three other boys. I jumped into the fight to help him and he promptly left me fighting all three while he ran away. We had a major disagreement over that the following day.
The “toxic masculinity” the feminists talk about is characterized by aggressiveness, violence, and abuse of women. They point to the book and movie The Lord of the Flies as the best example of masculine nature. But they misunderstand the point of those entertainments. They are about boys doing uncivilized things while unconstrained by the influence and discipline of adult men.
The feminists are fond of quoting some fool named Joe Ehrmann, an otherwise unheard of former NFL player who said, “The three most destructive words that every man receives when he’s a boy is when he’s told to ‘be a man.”
Those of us who, unlike Ehrmann, understand what it is to be a man try to pass the real meaning to our sons with the exactly same advice he abjures.
To be a man means, first and foremost, taking responsibility for yourself and your own actions. It means studying hard to get good grades and then working hard to succeed so that your success can benefit your wife and family. It means taking responsibility for your family and helping them however and whenever you can.
We were taught by our fathers, in school and by our personal experiences, that things such as the Boy Scout creed — being trustworthy, loyal, brave, reverent and the other elements that I can’t remember at the moment — weren’t platitudes and nonsense. We learned how to fish and hunt and that a real conservative is also a conservationist.
Many of the guys I went to college with evaded military service. But some of us wrote a blank check to Uncle Sam payable in an amount up to and including our lives. I never served in combat. But I was raised by a World War Two mud Marine who taught me his values and the meaning of manhood.
Being willing to take risks are a large part of it. History is replete with examples. You have Bunker Hill, Chapultepec, Belleau Wood, Bastogne, Iwo Jima — where, as the admiral said, uncommon valor was a common virtue — and places like Khe Sahn, Mogadishu, and Fallujah. Those are the extreme examples of manhood.
But there are a lot of other ways to take risks than to endure combat. Men such as Edison taught us that genius is, in his words, 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. He and men such as Guglielmo Marconi, Orville and Wilbur Wright took risks to pursue new technologies that would benefit the world long after they were gone.
And still other ways men — adult men — behave are also keys to the meaning of manhood. The guy who welds steel plates in such strength that they can be used to create the hull of a submarine is a man. The fellow who works three jobs to feed his family is a man. And Joe Sixpack, derided by every right-thinking liberal because he drives a truck or pours asphalt for roads or fixes the plumbing in your house, he’s a man too.
Few people admit it but without these men our country couldn’t ensure us the freedoms that those men who, in 1776, pledged their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish this nation.
The rich folks who inhabit the Hamptons — the types portrayed by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby — still have their exclusive parties there. They are generally derisive of the need for men to protect them, but a recent article, announcing a new counter-terrorist force armed with M-4 rifles and other gear is being created to protect their parties and horse shows.
I’m sure there are a few of the good citizens of Southampton who have served in the military. But all of them choose to, to paraphrase George Orwell, party hardy and then sleep soundly in their beds in safety because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf.
There are still too many in our country who deride the idea of manhood and seek to protect our kids from that idea. They would be the first to condemn the fact that men and women dedicated to their protection have any value to society.
Last week the Yale Committee on Art in Public Spaces acted on a complaint that a stone carving decorating the entrance to their big library featured a Puritan holding a musket next to an Indian holding a bow and arrow. To protect the snowflakes from that evil image, they installed a stone that covered the musket (not the bow; the politically correct cannot offend a Native American in any way).
That Yale committee, one can infer, objects to military service and everything else that’s politically incorrect such as nuclear power. The like-minded in the media have buried a major story about the Hurricane Harvey disaster because it goes against their most precious beliefs.
My favorite retired admiral brought to my attention that the South Texas Electric Generating Station — one of the nation’s newest nuclear power plants — remained in operation throughout the Harvey disaster. If it hadn’t, the area would have remained dark. Rescuers would have been hampered by the lack of safe places to which to get the rescued thousands of people.
The nuclear power plant is built to withstand even a Category 5 storm. It has watertight doors and four- to seven-feet thick concrete walls to prevent damage.
Preparing for the storm, the South Texas nuclear plant’s managers sequestered 175 people on site to ensure that essential energy could reach the shelters and help power the rescues.
I saw one photo of a smiling camo-clad guy who is an agent of the Texas Department of Public Safety standing with a group of people he just rescued. He may be one of the DPS agents who goes under the DPS’s old name, the Texas Rangers. They, and the others including the Texas National Guard, the Marines, and the Navy, have rescued — and are still rescuing — people from about 100,000 flooded homes.
Maybe manhood isn’t so bad. Three cheers for “toxic masculinity.”