Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New book by Dr. Helen Reynolds explains men’s changing motivations

Captain Capitalism reviews a new book.

Excerpt:

Dr. Helen of PJ Media fame is in a very small, but elite league.  She is one of the few professionals (PhD in psychology) to address and bring to light the sexual-sociological backlash men and women are having to feminism.  The only other person I’ve known to do this is Dr. Roy Baumeister with his book “Is There Anything Good About Men.”  However, while Dr. Baumeister’s book focuses on society’s current view or opinion of men, Dr. Helen’s new book “Men on Strike” addresses the consequences of having a myopic and solipsistic societal view of the sexes.  And the consequences aren’t good.

As the title would suggest, men are going on strike.  They are striking from their traditional roles as breadwinners, innovators, hard workers, protectors, etc.  But worse they are abandoning their roles as husbands and fathers.  Not out of a lack of desire, but worse – they are being forced out of these roles as society has made both roles too risky to forfeit their precious and finite lives for.

Naturally there is a backlash.

Women want men to “man up” and marry them.  Women want men give them children.  But, particularly ironic, while women SAY they want men to be effeminate, sensitive, caring, listeners, their behaviors show their preferences for strong, thuggish bad boys have never changed.  This confusion (and risk) to men has sent them fleeing, and blinded by feminism, modern day women can’t figure out why.  They are stumped as to why they’re 42, single, with some other man’s child, a masters degree in creative writing and NOT getting approached every day.  They simply cannot connect the dots.

Dr. Helen explores this reaction of men and tries to connect the dots for women.  Her language is polite, diplomatic and correct. but this is a herculean task to ask of her because she is trying to undo the brainwashing women (and men) have received for 40 years.  It is a harsh pill to swallow, too harsh for the progressively deteriorating and childish men and women who populate America today, and her blog receives more criticism than inquiry and acceptance.  Regardless she tries and has a professional psychological background to back it up lending the book authority.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them?

As Men on Strike demonstrates, men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century. Men are starting to fight back against the backlash. Men on Strike explains their battle cry.

I took a quick look at the book, because I was concerned that it might not be good coming from a libertarian perspective. But it’s been endorsed by fusionist conservatives like myself.

John Hawkins of Right Wing News:

This review is from: Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters (Hardcover)

I can’t say enough good things about Helen Smith’s extraordinary new book. In our over-feminized society where at times, it can seem like traditional, heterosexual men are under attack from all sides, Dr. Helen’s book presents a very different perspective. In fact, it reminds me a bit of Warren Farrell’s “Why Men Are the Way They Are,” but it’s more aggressively pro-male while Farrell’s book is more a straight-up antidote to male bashing feminism. Whether you’re a man looking for a book that covers men’s rights or a woman who wants to get a better idea of how most men react to the angry, left-wing feminist view of the world, this book comes highly recommended.

The paperback is available now, the Kindle book will be out later in June. I usually buy the Kindle book for books like this, but I’ll be getting the other book that the Captain linked in hardcover, because it is Oxford University Press and will be a good conversation starter in my office.

I think that one of the most troubling things about the contemporary church is that pastors don’t dare to read books like this to really find out what men are thinking. When you look at what pastors say about men – conservative pastors who claim to be pro-marriage – you will find there views that are hastening the demise of marriage and encouraging the sorts of conditions in which unborn children will be killed and born children will be raised fatherless. It is almost a guarantee that if you meet a pastor, then you are meeting someone who is working against social conservatism even as they praise it, because they have completely discounted how feminism and socialism have impacted men in every area. What is needed is an appraisal of the incentives facing men, and that’s exactly what pastors are unwilling to do. But this book sounds like it would be the antidote to that.

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Let the grown-ups lead: Paul Ryan describes his proposal to balance the budget

Paul Ryan's Balanced Budget Proposal

Paul Ryan’s Balanced Budget Proposal

In the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

America’s national debt is over $16 trillion. Yet Washington can’t figure out how to cut $85 billion—or just 2% of the federal budget—without resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. Clearly, the budget process is broken. In four of the past five years, the president has missed his budget deadline. Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in over 1,400 days. By refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation’s debt—or simply to write a budget—Washington lurches from crisis to crisis.

House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we’re introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn’t have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.

So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.

Our opponents will shout austerity, but let’s put this in perspective. On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy.

Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget. It’s why. A budget is a means to an end, and the end isn’t a neat and tidy spreadsheet. It’s the well-being of all Americans. By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.

The truth is, the nation’s debt is a sign of overreach. Government is trying to do too much, and when government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, because it returns government to its proper limits and focus. By curbing government’s overreach, our budget will give families the space they need to thrive.

Since Obama was elected, he’s added over $5.5 trillion to the national debt. This is not sustainable. We cannot continue to pass on enormous levels of debt to our children so that 30-year-old students can have free condoms bought for them. It is immoral to spend trillions of dollars and then pass the bill to the next generation. Democrats like to talk about helping the children, but really they just want to force them to pay for their wasteful spending. It’s got to stop.

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Obama’s fiscal cliff deal leaves us on a path to 200% debt to GDP

From The Hill.

Excerpt:

The nation’s long-term fiscal outlook hasn’t significantly improved following the recent agreement between Congress and the White House over tax and spending issues, according to a new analysis.

The “fiscal cliff” deal, combined with the debt-limit agreement of August 2011, only slightly delays the United States reaching debt-to-gross domestic product levels that would damage the economy and risk another fiscal crisis, according to a report from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation released on Tuesday.

The agreement “may have prevented the immediate threats that the fiscal cliff posed to our fragile economic recovery, but we haven’t remotely fixed the nation’s debt problem,” said Michael A. Peterson, president and COO of the Peterson Foundation.

“The primary goal of any sustainable fiscal policy is to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy and put it on a downward path, and yet our nation is still heading toward debt levels of 200 percent of GDP and beyond,” he said.

The report concludes that the recent round of deficit-reduction measures won’t make major improvements because they fail to address most of the major contributors to the debt and deficit, including rapidly rising healthcare costs. 

[...]At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing last week, lawmakers and budget experts agreed that rising healthcare costs, such as Medicare, must be addressed this year as part of efforts to overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs.

“Until spending in those areas is reduced, tax revenues are increased, or policymakers implement a combination of both, the United States will continue to have a severe long-term debt problem,” the report said.

“Reforms should be implemented gradually, and fiscal improvements must be achieved before our debt level and interest payments are so high that sudden or more draconian reforms are required to avert a fiscal crisis.”

The latest deal that stopped income tax increases for those making $400,000 a year or less may have only improved the burgeoning debt situation by a year.

Scheduled spending cuts from the 2011 budget deal, combined with the fiscal cliff agreement, put the debt on track to reach 200 percent of GDP by 2040, five years later than was projected prior to the passage of the two deals. 

The recent deficit-reduction measure gave the nation an additional year before hitting that 200 percent threshold, the report showed. 

I saw an interesting interview featuring Captain Capitalism in the Washington Times. He thinks that the debt spiral is irreversible.

Excerpt:

DDG: What was your take on the “solution” we saw earlier this month to the so-called fiscal cliff crisis?

Clarey: Band-Aid put on a cut aorta.

DDG: My concern is that inflation is distorting all levels of American society. For example, as prices skyrocket from monetary dilation at the Fed, we have this effect where as Rose Wilder Lane says, everything becomes increasingly more expensive and government starts creating laws and fines just for the purpose of revenue generation. So the formation of a police state and this loss of freedoms is in large part a result of government wanting to get more and more revenues to finance outlays that are being dilated as a result of the inflation they themselves are creating. What’s your take on this?

Clarey: I don’t know if it would be at the police state yet where the federal government comes in and confiscates wealth, as much as it is something much more clandestine. The government likes inflation in that it increases asset prices. Thus when somebody sells an asset – land, stocks, bonds, et cetera – they have to pay a capital gains tax.

Forget whether there was an actual real rate of return for the investor, the government gets to tax the real capital gains and the inflationary capital gains. Inflation also erodes the value of the federal debt, forcing the costs on US treasury holders. However, unless things change, the government will be forced [to cope with] with a simplified problem: Does it inflate its way out of its debts or does it confiscate wealth to pay for it?

I can’t read Paul Krugman and Barack Obama’s minds – if any exist – but I believe they will opt to go the inflationary route to solve the country’s debt problems. If they went the wealth-confiscation route, that would mean nationalizing people’s IRAs, 401(k)s and brokerage accounts much like they did in Argentina and Bulgaria. I fear however, because of their political ideology they have no problems doing both.

I am expecting inflation to continue in the near term, followed by seizing retirement accounts if the Democrats take back the House in 2014. The amnesty of 12 million illegal immigrants should give them that. So, if you have a plan to escape this, you’d better execute it in the two years. The clock is ticking.

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How well are American schools teaching science?

Stuart Schneiderman links to this post.

Excerpt:

The results are in and America’s elementary, middle and high school students are stumped by science.

The National Center for Education Statistics released the findings of their National Assessment of Educational Progress science exam this week and it doesn’t bode well for the state of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. While the majority of students at the fourth, eighth and twelfth grade levels could successfully complete straightforward hands-on or computer-based tasks and arrive at the correct conclusions, once additional variables or more complex calculations were introduced, their performance declined dramatically.

For example, 75% of high school seniors could successfully use test strips to test water samples for the levels of four pollutants, record the data and interpret whether the results exceeded EPA standards, but only 25% of students were able to design and conduct an investigation using a simulated calorimeter and related patterns in temperature changes in two different metals to determine which metal has the higher specific heat capacity. Results were the same at the lower grade levels, where only 24% and 35% of eighth and fourth graders respectively were able to handle the more difficult experiments. Students also had difficulty in explaining how they arrived at a correct conclusion, with only 27% of twelfth graders able to both select a correct answer and explain why they did so in one section of the test. And in another section, only 11% were able to make a final recommendation that was supported by the data they had worked with in the experiment.

[...]Currently, only about a third of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the US are in the STEM fields – by contrast, over half of Chinese and Japanese college students are specializing in STEM subjects. The economic and career benefits of STEM education are well-documented. STEM occupations are forecasted to grow faster than non-STEM occupations through to 2020. Over the course of the recession, unemployment in STEM fields has been almost half that of non-STEM fields. And STEM professionals earn, on average, approximately 26% more than non-STEM counterparts.

[...]If there’s a bright spot in the NAEP report, it’s the fact that female students are matching or exceeding the performance of their male peers in both hands-on and interactive tasks.

I always encourage Christians to go into STEM fields, especially men who have a Biblical mandate to provide for their families, if they have one. Women can be more flexible in what they study. Men are obligated to go for the bucks.

Regarding that comment in bold that I highlighted, Stuart writes:

Schools are not teaching advanced scientific problem-solving and reasoning, but they have achieved gender parity.

Is this an accidental correlation or is the connection causal?

It is certainly possible that educators have chosen gender parity over scientific excellence. If so, then that would help to explain their failure.

Educators may have chosen to close the gender gap at the expense of boys. They may have devalued certain types of reasoning because girls do not do as well on them. They may have changed the content of experiments to make science a more girl-friendly field?

We know that when boys believe that a field is identified as more feminine, they turn off and go back to their video games.

We know that teachers of the humanities and social sciences now actively discriminates against boys.

Is the same thing true of science?

If you read through the Department of Education report you will observe that the tests mostly involve girl-friendly and environmentally correct topics. They ask how sun-loving plants grow, how to test for pollution, and, how heat is conducted in frying pans.

Do you believe that ten or twelve year old boys will crank it up to study how to cook an omelet?

Sometimes the questions are directed at more boy friendly topics like electronic circuits and magnetic fields but they do not teach about cars, guns, and boats. They do not address questions about mining, agribusiness and construction.

Does it matter? I suspect that it does.

I think some combination of homeschooling and private schools is required if you expect your children to make a difference in the world. Young men especially will benefit from being taken out of the feminized public schools. That’s something I think about when dating and courting – picking the future teacher of my children.

Regardless, all Christians should be advocates for school choice. We shouldn’t be paying for a failed, politicized public school system. Give every parent a voucher and let the public schools compete for funding by pleasing customers – like every other business has to.

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Pew Research: U.S. marriage rate slumps to a record low

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from IOwnTheWorld. Thanks for the link! Readers should check out John Hawkins’ list of the top 40 conservative blogs for more great blogs!

ECM sends me this depressing article from the BBC.

Excerpt:

Barely half of Americans – a record low – are currently married, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census data.

Just 51% of adult Americans are married, compared with 72% in 1960.

The median age of first marriage has also hit a new high, of 26.5 for brides and 28.7 for grooms.

Pew said the number of adults co-habitating, single-person households and single parents had meanwhile increased in recent decades.

The study found that 20% of adults today aged 18 to 29 are married, compared with 59% in 1960.

It is unclear whether they are delaying matrimony or abandoning it altogether.

The analysis also found the number of new marriages in the US had declined by five percentage points between 2009-10.

This may not necessarily have been caused by the economic downturn, since a similar trend has continued in Europe regardless of business cycles.

Pew, a nonpartisan think tank and polling organisation, found the percentage of those Americans who have been married at least once had declined as well – 72% in 2010, from 85% in 1960.

If the trend persists, in a few years less than half of Americans will be married, Pew said.

I think that there are many causes for this problem. One of them has to be that the recession has hit men harder than women, and it is harder for a man to contemplate marriage when he isn’t the provider. A second reason is that the expansion of government makes it less important for women to men to fit the provider role, and men sink to those expectations and concentrate on other things that women want. A third reason is the men are performing poorly in school and earning fewer degrees, probably for the reasons that Christina Hoff Sommers explained in “The War Against Boys” – i.e. – feminism in the schools. A fourth reason would be the decline of prestige associated with marriage – men marry more when they get respect from their wives and society as a whole for doing something challenging and difficult. A fifth reason would be feminism’s drive to push premarital sex as something natural and normal to women – if women offer premarital sex to men as a form of recreation, then men have a big disincentive not to marry – they can already get the sex without having to commit for life to one woman. Furthermore, I don’t think that men feel comfortable about marrying a woman with a lot of previous sex partners – men know, and research confirms, that the higher number of prior sex partners is a huge risk of divorce. A sixth reason is that men’s incomes are taxed more and more, so that the government has more and more authority to interfere with his leadership – e.g. – a man cannot afford to select a private school or a religious school because the government takes the money and he is left with a politicized, failing public school that doesn’t accomplish the goals he wants for his children. A seventh reason would be that divorce is very bad for men’s finances – men have to pay alimony and child support, too.

I was chatting about this post over with ECM, and he said that the easy availability of pornography was another cause for the decline of marriage.

I wrote a longer, snarkier post about the decline of marriage here.

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