Saturday, January 21, 2012

What a Difference a Hundred Years Makes

Mark Steyn contrasts the "woman and children first" philosophy of the Titanic era with the "me first" evacuation non-procedures of Captain "I'm Outta Here" Schettino's Costa Concordia:
Today there is no social norm, so it's every man for himself – operative word "man," although not many of the chaps on the Titanic would recognize those on the Costa Concordia as "men." From a grandmother on the latter: "I was standing by the lifeboats and men, big men, were banging into me and knocking the girls."

Whenever I write about these subjects, I receive a lot of mail from men along the lines of this correspondent:

"The feminists wanted a gender-neutral society. Now they've got it. So what are you complaining about?"

And so the manly virtues (if you'll forgive a quaint phrase) shrivel away to the so-called "man caves," those sad little redoubts of beer and premium cable sports networks.
We are beyond social norms these days. A woman can be a soldier. A man can be a woman. A 7-year-old cross-dressing boy can join the Girl Scouts in Colorado because he "identifies" as a girl. It all adds to life's rich tapestry, no doubt. But I can't help wondering, when the ship hits the fan, how many of us will still be willing to identify as a man.
No too many, it seems. And anyway, it seems the chicks would prefer not be saved, thanks very much, because that would imply they weren't mens' equals in every single way: "Equity uber alles," as they might say at the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Toronto District School Board. Besides, one gets the sense that "human rightsy" chicks are far more irate about, say, the gender divide in Lego than they are about the dearth of male solicitude in cases of maritime disaster.

1 comment:

Carlos Perera said...

I must, alas, concede the general moral superiority of women over men: women tend to be more self-sacrificing within marriage (especially where the children are concerned), they are more nurturing, they are more observant in matters of religion, they are intrinsically more monogamous, more likely to look beyond physical attractiveness to the inner qualities of members of the opposite sex, etc.

The one moral area in which men have traditionally compared favorably with women has been in the willingness to risk life and limb to protect the family specifically and the community generally, especially women, children, and the elderly. This is not simply an idealized late-Medieval notion of chivalry: even rather savage primitives, like the American Indian nomads of the western prairies, would do this instinctively. For instance, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the first concern of the Sioux and Cheyenne warriors was to throw up a cavalry screen on the south side of the village, to give the women, children, and elderly a chance to escape toward the horse herds north of the village; they did this not knowing that they greatly outnumbered the attacking 7th Cavalry troopers of Major Reno's battalion.

One could cite any number of other historical and individual examples along these lines. (My wife, who would double up laughing at the suggestion that I am her lord and master, or in any general way her superior, nevertheless sends me out in harm's way to protect the family whenever something goes strangely bump in the night . . . heck, she even lends me out to our single [female] next door neighbor [and good friend of hers] for this purpose . . . which is as it should be.) To subvert this one glaringly good moral quality in Western men has been one of the great triumphs(?) of the cultural Marxists, and especially of their radical-feminist subsidiary. It is, of course, one more avenue of attack on the bonds of love, sacrifice, custom, and mores that hold the family together as a quasi-autonomous core institution.

The creeping marginalization of men's traditional function in the family has allowed the state to step in more and more to usurp the masculine role of provider and protector, thus making that institution increasingly dependent on the state, with all that implies for ease of totalitarian control. The intangible costs to society of this social engineering project are reified by such ugly incidents as the Costa Condordia affair . . . as many women are finding out to their sorrow. (I must respectfully disagree with Scaramouche that "the chicks would prefer _not_ to be saved, thanks very much." My own impression, from reading the comments under on-line newspaper accounts of the poltroonish behavior shown by so many men, not least the ship's captain, during this disaster, is that the female commenters overwhelmingly expressed disgust and dismay at the devolution of the male of the species.)