In Part 2, we hashed out the many specific reasons why legal marriage is a bad bet for young men in the 21st century. To summarize: The 21st century marriage contract demands all the traditional duties from a man – faithfulness, commitment, unconditional lifelong financial support – while demanding absolutely nothing from his wife. A married woman is under no legal or social obligation to remain committed and fulfill her historic duties as a wife and mother. The decision to avoid such a one-sided exchange should be a no-brainer.
And yet, we still see a majority of men planning on getting married. Their actions, which have led to a spate of recent articles on the Man-Child phenomenon, sometimes betray their words, and demonstrate at least a subconscious understanding of 21st marriage’s harsh reality. But still, a romantic lives in the hearts of most western men, and those untainted by blogs such as mine generally look forward to meeting one good woman who will inspire him to forget about the rest.
How could this possibly be? Why are men so eager to act blatantly against their own best interest?
The answer is that human men are naturally self-sacrificing creatures. Take a man and tell him to let others shoot at him for no good reason, and he will do it, as long as you dress it up as some sort of solemn duty he must take on for the good of the tribe. Give him the dirtiest, foulest, most dangerous jobs; he and his brothers-in-toil will form a culture that venerates the danger, filth and degradation they must endure. Ask him to sacrifice his entire life’s wealth and freedom for a family, and he will break down in tears of gratitude for having been given the privilege.
These actions and attitudes do not naturally come to all men, however.
These are the behaviours of the Civilized Man. Such men built the western world, defended it against foreign and barbarian aggressors for a millennium, and eventually expanded its borders around the globe until they doubled back on themselves.
Then something happened. The late 20th century kicked it into overdrive, but its roots stretch back much further: We abandoned the Civilized Man. We stopped rewarding him, stopped respecting him, and turned the choleric anus of society against him until he was bathed in excrement. To the extent that the Civilized Man continues to exist, he is an object of mockery.
Occasionally we pay lip service to the Civilized Man. It is not yet socially acceptable to spit on soldiers as they pass on the street, though the ROTC was until quite recently forbidden from several prestigious college campuses.
In practice however, we couldn’t possibly have any less respect for men in uniform. We send them to desert wastelands on the other side of the world to get shot and blown up, for absolutely no good reason. To keep Americans safe from terrorists? That job can only be done at our borders, not by invading every hostile country that looks at us sideways. To bring Democracy to the Middle East? Well. How’s that working out? More to the point, how is the state religion of Democracy working out for us?
Not only do we ask the men in our armed forces to fight pointless wars, we demand that they employ ineffective tactics. The British were able to conquer the world hundreds of years ago, with muskets and sailboats. Today, the most powerful military force that the world has ever known is gearing up to pull up from two bombed-out third-world backwaters, helicopters-on-the-roof style. The difference is that we have imposed political and legal constraints on our soldiers that render them unable to ever achieve victory.
We are sending the young men of our generation abroad, to die for no reason. It seems perfectly natural to us, but future generations may view things differently.
Our modern disdain for the soldier is incomplete, though. It is still considered a faux pas, even among fashionable, progressive people, to scorn the common soldier.
The police officer on the other hand, is not so fortunate. The man who opts to spend his life standing as the sole barrier between murderers, robbers, vandals and lowlifes, and decent, law-abiding people, is regarded as the absolute lowest of society’s lows.
Like the soldier, the modern police officer is given a pointless job with no real end goal, and constrained by legalities and red tape in his ability to do that job effectively.
Consider: What should a police officer do? His job is simply to keep cities safe for decent and civilized people.
By this criteria, the police forces of the contemporary western world have failed miserably. Vast sections of every major population centre are hostile and uninhabitable. In some cases, vital public services are being cut off as a result of employees’ well-founded fear of the feral gangs who have taken effective control of whole neighbourhoods.
This failure is not due to lack of manpower, or resources. It it is the predictable result of police forces that have been gutted of their powers to pursue and arrest criminals, a broken criminal justice system that must release or plea bargain legions of offenders due to overloaded courts and prisons, and the reallocation of police attention to victimless middle-class crimes. Why, with Detroit in the state it’s in, are there speed traps on our highways? Why are we fighting a war on drugs in Latin America, when most of us can’t walk through our cities after dark?
Police officers deserve to be given the power and mandate to fight real crime. The fact that they haven’t is a greater disrespect than any amount of anti-police sentiment in our culture.
Here’s another interesting aspect of modern society’s attitude towards men who actually do things for society: There is a direct correlation between how useless, and how sexy and prestigious a man’s career is. Politicians, lawyers, bankers, criminals and well-spoken bums clean up with women. Middle managers and salesmen break even. Blue-caller labourers and high-tech workers are the bottom of the totem pole.
It may seem that we’ve stumbled far, far away from the topic of marriage, but I promise we haven’t.
The common theme of this post thus far is that our society has changed significantly over the past century. Noble professions that were once greatly rewarded, not financially but in the far more valuable currencies of respect and esteem, now earn the ignominy of society at large. If the men who now take on dangerous, difficult jobs were rational, they would recoil in horror from them. What sane man would rather volunteer to be a target practice prop for Taliban guerrillas, than a 9:00-4:30 paper-shuffling bureaucrat stateside for 150% of the pay? Who would sign up to get spit on, sucker-punched and called a ‘fascist pig’ by a bunch of snot-nosed gender studies sophomores? Who would choose a life of manual labour, when he could just as easily eke out the same living by learning how to game the social welfare departments of his federal, state and municipal governments?
The answer is no one. Inertia is the only reason decent western men (and women, who insist on being good wives and mothers despite the myriad social and financial incentives prodding them to do otherwise) continue to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Some dim memory of an era in which soldiers and police officers were heroes, and hard-working men were respected pillars of their communities, still lives in the minds of the men who today sacrifice themselves on those altars. Once upon a time, making sacrifices for the greater good was a reliable path to recognition and respect.
Today, we turn up our noses at such men.
Worse yet, it’s just as well that we do. The sad truth is that they aren’t really sacrificing for the greater good. They are pretending to. Strictly out of habit, they are playing soldier, playing cops and robbers, playing as men. They are going through the motions of their grandfathers’ heroes. But the 20th century has bequeathed us an evil, twisted world. Soldiers are not protecting our borders from foreign invasion – they are fomenting violent revolutions in third world countries we have no interest in. Police officers are not clearing the streets of the thugs and barbarians who have seized control of them – they are issuing speeding tickets, chasing potheads and scrambling to impose some order on the OWS protests without becoming public enemies on the six o’clock news. Even many honest tradesmen have been partially seduced into acting out new roles as unproductive union parasites.
Marriage – the original topic of this post, remember – is just like these other sad examples of virtues that are now abandoned, disrespected and redirected towards evil ends.
Once upon a time, getting married and raising a family was what a decent man was obligated to do. Marriage-oriented men were rewarded with social esteem, and more importantly, good women as wives. Today, society only begrudgingly respects the married man. A man who refuses to marry is no longer considered the least bit shameful, and there is an undercurrent of reverence for the incorrigible man-whore. Furthermore, the vast majority of women are willing and available to offer casual sex to the commitment-averse man in their best years, while delaying marriage until there is nothing left but the rind.
In a healthy society, the rule is that those who contribute to the health of that society are rewarded. In a sick, evil, civilization – such as ours – this rule is reversed. Up is down. Black is white. Evil is rewarded: Criminals go free; crooked politicians and bankers enrich themselves; the spendthrift are bailed out; Women who abandon their families are financially set for life; Caddish men, such as myself, thrive in a sea of easy, commitment-free sex.
Virtue is punished. Evil is rewarded. That’s the unnatural, ungodly world we live.
Regardless of how you feel about this situation, you are powerless to do anything about it. You are one man. The only question you have to answer is: Which path will you choose? Will you dedicate your life to sacrificing for the good of society – and be despised for it? Or will you live on your own hedonistic terms, selfishly, without regard for the social fabric, and perhaps even develop a bit of a taste for the sight of it burning down around you?
Perhaps you’re still uncomfortable with letting the charred remains of our civilization turn to ash. You want hope? I don’t have any for you, not now at least. But this post is long enough already, and tomorrow’s another day.