Of Manhood, Equipoise and Our Great Nation’s Future

“Manly men, do manly things, in manly ways!” – Traditional Rugby Pre-Game Cheer.

In the mind of Historian Barbara Tuchman, French Noble Enguerrand de Coucy (1340-1397), exemplified manly virtue. In her masterwork of comparative history, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century she describes Coucy as a “whole man in a fractured world.”

Today our world increasingly fractures. Little mistakes in diplomacy, in economics and engineering lead to tragedy and anguish for the many. The world of today, like Medieval France, could be described as increasingly broken. What we lack today is Enguerrand de Coucy. We lack that man in whole, because we no longer know the formula to build him. We have lost that formula as our society has lost a sense of appreciation for the balanced man in full.

Our institutions for melding and raising our boy children, from infancy to confident manhood, have fallen prey to multiple dogmas that prevent them from functioning. Our young men are taught to be afraid and ashamed of being exactly what they are – men. The latest woeful example comes to us from Canada. The National Post describes a truly idiotic rule proposed by a youth soccer league in Ottawa to protect the self-esteem of young boys.

In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default. Bruce Cappon, called the rule ludicrous. “I couldn’t find anywhere in the world, even in a communist country, where that rule is enforced,” he said.

Mr. Cappon couldn’t find that country for a good reason. Other countries do not deliberately sabotage boy children. Richard Whitmire, author of the blog Why Boys Fail, cites an article entitled The Gendered Brain? that discusses how boys differ from girls in an academic environment.

For example, boys have a need for movement. When their brain goes into a restful state, they will often tap a pencil or begin rocking in their chair as their body attempts to stay alert. This may be more annoying to a female teacher because her inner ear is biologically designed to be more receptive to sound than a male’s.

Boys are also more inspired when they are in a competitive situation, but female teachers tend to avoid the concept of winners and losers. So, while there is a need for cooperative learning, there is also still a need to create competitive situations as a motivational tool.

Failure-proof schools and soccer leagues that don’t allow teams to ever lose by more than five goals are examples of environments that sabotage the development of decently acceptable manhood. We see the results of this failed practice play out around us in two ways. Men rebel and become barbarians, or they withdraw and become she-males.

The barbarians are not truly whole men. The spectacle of Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, throwing an incredible winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLIII, and then mere months later being accused a second time of rape after a night of drunken debauchery at a bar in Milledgeville, GA brings this dichotomy into focus.

It took remarkable discipline and endeavor to be the man who wears two Super Bowl Rings and holds numerous NFL statistical records. It took a mere ten minutes of stupidity to become a target of well-earned bathroom humor. Another Barbarian Man, Rap “Artist” Eminem, provides the sick humor. “I’d rather turn this club into a bar room brawl/Get as rowdy as Roethlisberger in a bathroom stall.”(HT: Digital Spy)

We get our other end of the spectrum in board rooms and leadership positions throughout society. These men play the game and “succeed” while truly being nothing-burgers, not Roethlisbergers, as human beings. The current CEO of British Pollution, Oops, I’m sorry, British Petroleum, Tony Hayword, exemplified this type of warped and yuppified manhood with Twitter-in-hand.

With respect to the vast, black stain, spreading unabated in The Gulf of Mexico, he offered the following commentary: “I would like my life back.” So would eleven of your oil-rig workers, Tony. My version of a Manly-Man’s Man would have manned-up. He might have offered us the following.

“I have failed this corporation, it’s employees, it’s share-holders, it’s customers around the world. My personal short-comings as both an executive and as a leader of men have lead to an environmental catastrophe. I hereby resign from my position as BP CEO and will donate the balance of my annual salary and a major portion of my personal holdings to the ongoing efforts to repair this damage which, I, in part, have unfairly and ungraciously inflicted on millions of innocent people.”

That obviously doesn’t fix all that has been (redacted), but it goes a whole lot further than “I would like my life back..” It would also vastly supersede “Just fix the damn hole!” Staged anger for the cameras is also NOT manhood.

Real men take over problems, they could care less about blame. Responsibility is more important than blame. Ownership and action trump litigious and self-promoting cowardice. They don’t tolerate messes. They turn them into problems and they solve them. Our Fearless Leader, President Obama, has done the opposite.

Peggy Noonan, in a piece entitled “He was Supposed to be Competent.” offers the following cutting observation.

The original sin in my view is that as soon as the oil rig accident happened the president tried to maintain distance between the gusher and his presidency. He wanted people to associate the disaster with BP and not him. When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way.

In that critique, Peggy Noonan, perhaps unconsciously, lays out the path towards building the type of men our world currently does not have. Responsibility, ownership, problem-solving, honor, benefice and the unquenchable lust for victory are the virtues. From Latin, virtues are those things that make good men good. If we really want our life back as a nation, and truly desire to fix the (decency-edit) hole, let’s restore the balance to our next generation of men.

The Duke of Wellington, after his victory at Waterloo, was quoted as saying the victory at Waterloo was “born on the playing fields of Eaton and Harrow.” For completeness, he should of mentioned it’s chapels, mess-halls and of course, the classrooms. However, encompassing his quote, his point stands irrefutable. A nation’s future lies in the flower of its manhood. Let that manhood again become whole.

Our modern world has had JP Morgan and Andrew Carnegie run its boardrooms while Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan presided over its states. We now have Tony Hayword urinate away our corporate assets while Barack Obama fiddles as the gusher wastes. If this is the future of American manhood is thus, then President Obama’s weasel-souled spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright was correct in one chilling respect. “No, not God bless America….”