On Self-Reliance, Feminism and General Decline in American Culture

Just wanted to post this link (here) to a Mark Steyn piece, “Adult Babies”, which ran in National Review in 2011.  I often wonder what my parents would make of some of the present-day crazies who are  turning America into a societal Bedlam where the sane, hard-working, self-reliant receive nothing but ridicule and the  most deplorable, self-indulgent , lowest common denominator behavior entitles one to limitless government subsidization.

My mom worked as a registered nurse.  She could fix just about anything, even our TV and appliances, she could do electrical wiring, and plumbing repairs.  Being a nurse when that required more measuring, she embraced metric.   And on top of that she was an expert baker and terrific all-around cook.  I remember her visiting us in Germany one time and the plug to my vacuum cleaner had pulled loose from the cord.   My husband was away (as usual in the Army) and I had four small children.   Sadly,  I am not as self-sufficient as my mother was.  She took one look at it and asked me why I hadn’t fixed it.  I told her I would just buy a new vacuum cleaner, which evoked a look of dismay on her face.  She sent me to the German store to buy a new plug and upon returning home with the plug and electrical tape, she replaced  the plug in a few minutes.  My sisters and I often chat about how self-reliant our parents were, but particularly our mom, who worked harder than anyone else I have ever met.   Before my mother, my grandmothers and great-grandmothers all worked (some outside the home, some on farms, which most assuredly is some of the hardest work on earth) and I don’t believe any of them ever felt like they were trapped in some evil male patriarchy.  Mostly, I got  the impression they were happy to be Americans, as am I.

Long before feminism turned way too many  women into selfish,demanding  shrews who mercilessly attack  masculinity and look for male slights at every turn, many women (the kind who helped build America) were standing beside their men, instead of emasculating them.  DeTocqueville, the premier chronicler of early American culture, (“Democracy In America – Volume 2“- free here or here), commented on women in early America.  He devoted several chapters to the role of women in early American society.  He noted how independent American women were, how freely they could travel, without any fear for their safety, such was the state of public morals, that a woman could go anywhere without fear of being accosted.  Juxtapose that one with our society filled with self-defense courses that get billed as “empowering” women.  My youngest daughter comes to mind.  She reveres, Gavin DeBecker’s “Gift of Fear”,which is an excellent book (here) and she is a walking encyclopedia on safety precautions.  One could only wish that such a book wasn’t necessary.  DeTocqueville  proffered this  prescient observation:

“There are people in Europe who, confounding together the different characteristics of the sexes, would make of man and woman beings not only equal but alike. They would give to both the same functions, impose on both the same duties, and grant to both the same rights; they would mix them in all things—their occupations, their pleasures, their business. It may readily be conceived, that by thus attempting to make one sex equal to the other, both are degraded; and from so preposterous a medley of the works of nature nothing could ever result but weak men and disorderly women”    (Democracy In America, Vol 2, Book 3, Chapter XII)

One can hardly argue that he missed the mark with so many young women involved in self-destructive, demoralizing behavior, like the hook-up scene or young female teens sexting.  This trend extends to what my youngest daughter informed me is termed “prosti-tot clothes”, when I lamented how hard it was to find  decent clothing for my young granddaughters for Christmas.  I wandered from store to store, just to find some tops that didn’t look like, what I can only term, slutty.  Here we are with women fully empowered and while  we can still hear the old hags of feminism roar, “I am woman!”, young women seem  lost in a world without boundaries, moral constraints, or parental control.  And where are the boys.  Way too often playing gratuitously violent video games, listening to music with violent lyrics and all too often being drugged for hyperactivity from a very early age.    We see way too many young men trapped in adolescence playing WOW or other games unto perpetuity, in lieu of participating in the real world.   Sure, I know most people are still trying to be good parents, but they are faced by an onslaught of  pop culture forces that are hard to keep at bay.

I feel very fortunate that my kids grew-up around some of the finest men in America (the US Army), where it was safe to let my kids play outside in our post-housing neighborhoods.  I even told my daughters when they first started driving (because we live in a military town) that if they had a flat tire, to just play dumb when a guy stops to help.  It worked like a charm for over 30 years for me.  Soldiers like helping women.  In fact, most men like being needed and useful – toss a man a problem and he will try to fix it.  My daughters scoffed at my advice and in this day and age it’s best not to trust anyone.  Luckily they can change their own tires or call for roadside assistance through their insurance.

Sure, the women’s right movement wasn’t all bad, because equal pay for equal work is unarguably right and opening up many job opportunities to women improves society.  We should encourage all the talents among all citizens.  The problem comes in when we start rewarding victim-hood status, as in the Steyn column on “adult babies”.   In another era other men would have kicked this diaper-clad ninny’s butt into adulthood, but in today’s emasculated society everyone’s forced to pay for this idiot to be bottle-fed for life  from the government coffers.  Our perverse tabloid-style entertainment industry rewards the most bizarre and freakish behavior, while private organizations that used to teach redeeming values, like the Boy Scouts of America come under attack.

Truly, our society suffers from a lack of men, who are willing to be men.  And we need women, who can move past their pampered “me-first, second, always” mentality, that creeps into so many women’s victim-hood vocabularies.  Diana West, Washington Times columnist , (here) powerfully argues what society needs is more adults , – you, know, part of that almost extinct species that used to handle life’s adversities without expecting, as Steyn points out,  some special government compensation or national day of recognition for their problem.

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