There are sections to the argument. Part I sounds right to me -- it's a fact about human virtue that it grows best in the face of a certain amount of hardship. Courage can only be developed by doing things that are really frightening. Rectitude comes from the practice of putting duty above desire, which means that you have to have a life that includes serious duties.One of the good things about the Marine Corps is that it is a highly demanding environment that makes necessary some of the physical strength, courage, and personal hardships that modern life does not require. Even in the case of war, whose negative effects are serious matters, there are positives that we find difficult to talk about but that are nevertheless very real. Going to Iraq will always be one of the chiefest experiences of my lifetime: riding out with your comrades, wearing armor and bearing arms in the face of the enemy, devoting yourself day and night to trying to bring peace and justice to a land that had not known it, these are great things. These are the things we were made for. Insofar as the world doesn't ask them of us, we don't become what we were meant to be.So that part, at least, seems right to me. Your problems arise in the later sections, I take it, but I think it's worth noticing that he says something very valuable and correct right up front.
The second part is old ground for all of us here. Cassandra has beaten many of those claims into the ground hard and often. I'm not going to repeat her arguments here, I'll just refer to them. It doesn't seem to be a factually accurate picture of what the past was like, or even what the present is like.
The third section raises complaints I find largely pointless. However, I will note that I usually hear them from the other side -- from those feminists who really want full, honest equality. Why shouldn't that mean women pick up the check if they make more, and the law makes absolutely no distinctions based on sex at all?Well, you know my answer to the second part of that question -- because a law that achieves that level of universality does it by sacrificing a level of detail about what the world is really like. Sometimes it makes sense to make the distinction, because in some cases it is really relevant.My answer to the first question is that it isn't wrong for a woman who is wealthy to give a man gifts. However, it is also important for a lover to express his love in practical terms, not just through words but deeds. If he can't afford dinner, OK, but he'd better find some way to sacrifice something valuable to him for her. That's what it means to honor someone: to sacrifice for them. If he will not sacrifice for her, he does not honor her, and therefore does not love her.So, 1 out of 3.
I think this whole thing stems from some sort of emotional immaturity. I was actually going to fisk this article when I saw it, as it reminded me of a similar screed by a guy named Kim Du Toit some years ago. But then I thought "Deeds, not words."Basically, it comes down to watching too much TV and movies and stuff. That is, sitting around instead of actually doing something.
I run into this now, it seems, just about every day. It makes me wonder where all the guys are who think this way, and to feel lucky they apparently aren't nearby. It has a flavor of the attitude that poor white farmers were supposed to hold of black sharecroppers: they needed someone to be below them in the social order so they didn't feel so badly about themselves. A sad, sad state of affairs.But then, in articles like the Hawkins piece, there's also the weird inversion. First, he's unhappy because women's weakness no longer contrasts as starkly with his strength. Second, he's unhappy because women really are weak and are unfairly moving the goalposts for positions like police officers to accommodate their weakness. I should think the latter problem would buck up his self-esteem. Well, perhaps it does.I agree that his first point has some merit. It's a shame he doesn't realize that the same goes for women, and that the horrible trend he decries is one in which women have benefited from challenges that he presumably would have denied them. Women's need to confront dangers and exhibit bravery apparently doesn't count -- as if there were only so much challenge to go around, in a zero-sum game.
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