Uvalde and the Crisis of Masculinity

Masculine energy long precedes civilization and exists with it in a delicate balance. Without it, civilization can’t function, reproduce, or defend itself. However, if it is not backed with wisdom, if it is not channeled properly, if it is not put to a productive purpose, tragedy will happen. This is what happened in Uvalde and what happened in almost all of the mass shootings we see. They reveal the true crisis we face, a crisis of meaning, especially among men.

Few political leaders are willing to discuss this, because it doesn’t lend itself to simple slogans which can go viral on social media. The left considers men “privileged.” They can’t use the crisis of meaning among young men as a means of virtue signaling to their fellow woke friends or as a cudgel to beat their political opponents with. The right, meanwhile, is usually too narrow-minded and short-sighted to even understand the problem, let alone address it. Hopefully that is changing. Addressing this issue is part of the reason why I started this website.

How do we give men, especially young men, the opportunity and grounding to channel their masculine energy appropriately?

First we should look at what masculine energy is. Wardlow, currently the hottest act in All Elite Wrestling, is a great example.

I think you can see the reason why he’s so popular. Wardlow is masculinity in its purest form. Masculine energy is an animalistic drive for glory through conquest, smashing through any obstacle in the way. Epic heroes are always motivated by this in one manifestation or another. This was the reason why I gave this website its name (although that might be changing soon).

It is useless to try and suppress this energy in men. You will make them miserable and force them out of society in the best case scenario. In the worst case, these men will channel that energy to destructive ends. Mass shootings are such destructive ends, whose perpetrators can find no other outlet for their energies, no further hope of glory or notoriety than in performing a shocking, gruesome act of mass murder.

Every culture thus has means of channeling masculine energy and diverting it for productive purposes, much as farmers divert streams to grow their crops. The channel and farm requires effort and continual maintenance to produce its fruits.

What are the means of properly channeling and dispersing masculine energy?

A Moral Foundation and Higher Calling

Without a strong moral foundation, all else is useless. The phrase “moral foundation” does not refer strictly to ethics, but an identity grounded in a proper worldview that understands the best way to live. The creation of a moral foundation was once standard in schools, but it has withered on the vine with the decline of classical education in the 20th century. We see the results around us in far more than just mass shootings.

Young men must understand that character creates fate, that virtue is indispensable to living a good life (and an indestructible resource for future success), and that evil, destructive acts will come back to bite them in the ass in the long run, no matter how much of a high they temporarily get. Better to cultivate virtue, then, as it will prove an inexhaustible supply of hope and mortar to build your house of success in life. This is why I compiled the material in Lives of the Luminaries.

A return to the Shipwreck of Simonides is also appropriate here:

A learned man has always a fund of riches in himself.

The fable showed that people who tried to save their possessions in a shipwreck drowned by weighing themselves down, while Simonides, who knew that he was his own greatest resource, made it safely to shore. He could produce whatever he wanted because of his knowledge and character.

The omega males behind these school shooting incidents don’t understand this. They are without hope in themselves or their futures. They have not been exposed to these ideas or this wisdom. They don’t understand how to behave, have confidence in themselves, and how to deal with setbacks. They have nothing to look forward to.

This is an educational, cultural, and family issue. There is no easy solution, but putting writers like Cicero and Cornelius Nepos back in schools would be a good start. It is also imperative to pursue pro-family policies that try to put fathers back in the home. Growing up with a father is increasingly a luxury of wealth. That has to change immediately.

Once a foundation is established, men then need to be given a way to channel it into a higher calling, an aspiration for glory. This will vary between people, but a great way to channel that energy would be to expand funding for NASA and investment in space by private enterprise. Exploring new worlds has always been a channel for masculine energy. Space is truly that next frontier. It would give men, and society itself, higher meaning once again. The space race in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s did wonders for American social cohesion.

Let’s get to Mars by the middle of the century. This should be a bipartisan agreement. All Americans should be called on to contribute.

Discipline

“Telemachus, now you will see firsthand what it means to distinguish yourself in war. Don’t shame your ancestors. We have been strong and brave in every generation.”

And Telemachus coolly answered him:

“The way I feel now, I don’t think you’ll see me shaming my ancestors, as you put it, Father.”

Laertes was delighted with this and exclaimed:

“What a day, dear gods! My son and grandson going head to head to see who is best.” (Odyssey 24.526-35)

The end of Homer’s Odyssey is a final expression not only of the importance of family, but of discipline, and the structures that are needed for young men to hold themselves accountable to. The family is one such structure, of course. In the showdown with the suitors’ relatives at the end of the Odyssey, we see a father reminding his son to live up to the example of his ancestors, as his grandfather delights. It is another reminder of the importance of fathers and grandfathers as both examples and as sources of accountability to young men.

Odysseus and Telemachus
Odysseus and Telemachus from The Odyssey (1997)

Peer groups are another such structure. Heroes in Homer and elsewhere are expected to perform adequately and conduct themselves appropriately in relation to their peers. The peer group, steeped in a moral foundation, is the mechanism for accountability and cohesion.

The most obvious example of this is the military, which from ancient times acted as the ultimate peer group. It is little wonder why the military, one of the last remaining institutions of this nature, has come under relentless assault by the forces of entropy that have atomized society.

Other structures which can act as peer groups: the church, sports teams, fraternities, private gentleman’s clubs, etc., have all either decayed or disappeared. Even the Boy Scouts dropped its name and went co-ed recently. Young men are increasingly isolated and atomized. Instead of having peers to compete with, share wisdom with, and hold themselves accountable to, young men are increasingly isolated and withdrawn. It is hard to have an objective structure that provides discipline if you’re playing video games or watching porn all day. There is nothing for you to achieve in the real world. There is nothing and no one to hold yourself accountable to.

Many young men with such proclivities will be content with this. Others, however, will find this an unsatisfactory way to dissipate their energy. There is no prospect for achievement or glory in this, no real satisfaction, and they know it. Without other prospects, what are they to do?

Without a moral foundation, discipline, and social structures for guidance and accountability, some will unfortunately take to violence.

This is a complicated social problem decades in the making. There is no easy solution for it. Not all of it can be fixed through government action, either. Again, we see the necessity for pro-family policies. We must purge wokeness and other assorted nonsense from the military. It would help if state and local business associations sponsored professional and entrepreneur groups in schools, where young men can learn useful skills and hold themselves accountable to adult role models. And yes, some of these groups will need to be all-male. The presence of women changes the energy of these spaces. Some spaces need to be for men to hone and channel masculine energy in positive ways.

Mass shooters are almost universally loners. They had no groups to support them in channeling their energy to more productive purposes. We have underrated the importance of these groups for far too long.

Economic Advancement

In our parents’ and grandparents’ time, it was possible for most people to find a job that would allow them to live comfortably and support a family. My grandfather was able to support a family of four on just his income as an electrician. Their home, which my grandparents had until they died, was modest, but it was comfortable. It was in a good neighborhood. This is almost impossible today.

In the past few decades, as America outsourced and financialized, it has become increasingly difficult to find meaningful employment without the expensive and time-consuming detour of a college education. Without one, a hard-scrabble, often lonesome existence is the likeliest possibility. But not all men are meant for college. Women now earn college degrees at a higher rate than men. Even with college, some men will fall through the cracks anyway, failing to transform their degree into meaningful employment that can support a family.

Achilles and Priam

If young men see no means to advance themselves economically, there is going to be trouble. Some of them will resort to violence if they cannot find meaningful and rewarding ways to dissipate their energy in the economy. Policymakers need to make real efforts to undercut the college monopoly on economic advancement and foster industries that can create good jobs that most people can obtain. Business leaders also need to be encouraged to do this. We have to make the opportunity for wealth generation less unequal.

Fortunately, we are seeing some movement toward this in the ranks of the Republican Party. Where the previous generation of Boomer conservatives entirely ignored the problem, the next generation of leaders, like JD Vance, is preparing to do something about it. We in the public need to keep the pressure on them to do so.

Gaining Good Women

And for yourself, may the gods grant you your heart’s desire, a husband and a home, and the blessing of a harmonious life. For nothing is greater or finer than this, when a man and woman live together with one heart and mind, bringing joy to their friends and grief to their foes. (Odyssey 6.183-9)

As usual, Homer highlights the important things in life. Yet, this is something increasingly cut off to men.

One of the consequences of the modern economy, where women are going to college more than men, is that more men become unsuitable as marriage partners. What was once a “manosphere” trope is now accepted wisdom. Women do not want to date or marry men who make less money than they do.

And with more men dropping out of society altogether, the number reporting that they have not had sex in the past year has grown. 28% of men now report having no sex in the past 12 months, compared to 18% of women. These men often don’t go out, so their only means of meeting women are on dating apps, which are intensely competitive.

Most men of this type will be fine, if lonely, but some of them will turn to violence if they feel they cannot find a good woman, with the kind of dark justifications for it that come with cognitive dissonance. This was at play in the mind of the omega male behind the 2015 Charleston church shooting, for example.

Men must be provided the opportunity of meeting good women and the foundation to stand a good chance. If this does not happen, there will be tragedy.

Conclusion

Once again, there are no easy solutions to this problem. We have over half a century of moral, economic, social, and educational decay to deal with and reverse. We also have to accept that evil exists and nothing will stop it entirely. We just have to make it harder for men to fall through the cracks.

One thing that would help immediately would be for every school to have at least a pair of police officers on the premises who are trained to deal with active shooters. This is at least a realistic item of legislation.

Another would be for the media to stop sharing the names and faces of the omega males behind these shootings. They should not be given any notoriety for their actions. It gives other omega males who are prone to violence the idea that they will be rewarded. Unfortunately, I have no faith in the media to take heed of this.

Each of us will need to do our own thing to help the men of our day and turn them to good expressions of their masculine energy. This is a consistent theme in my work, such as The Fall of the Fated Queen. You can find the first two chapters free below:

Chapter 1: The Woman Warrior, a World Away

Chapter 2: The Chieftain and the King

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The Masculine Epic

Young men desperately need good educators and good worlds to immerse their imaginations in. This has always been the purpose of my work and we see that it is needed now more than ever. I aim to do whatever small part I can in creating people of good character and full of hope.

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