The Irreversibility of Decline

There is much to be said for Christopher DeGroodt’s prescriptions for educating boys to become men.

So what can our educators do to create real leaders, as opposed to the usual cowardly, moneygrubbing mediocrities?

To begin with, the unmanly self-loathing that characterizes education has to end. Our schools and universities have become like the believer who never stops dwelling on his sins: sick, sick unto death, and yet he would have his illness be our virtue. Students should learn that the brutal evils of American history—African-American slavery, the genocide of the native peoples—are not unique in character to these States. On the contrary, such violence and moral evil reflect the character of the natural world with which we are one and which, in a clear sense, we indeed are. These words are, of course, not meant to “excuse” our past; the point is that nothing is to be gained by constantly dwelling on its bad aspects.

We should also impart a hearty acceptance of competition and elitism, for how else can we keep up with the Chinese? “Every talent,” said Nietzsche, “must unfold itself in fighting.” The classical philologist was thinking of the Greek genius, whose manly vitality is an antithesis to our effete time. And yet, we can see that American youth do have a desire for accomplishment unapologetically pursued. Pindar, the ancient Greek poet, declares that he is “an eagle soaring sunward” while other poets “vainly croak like ravens” or “feed low like chattering crows.” Such exuberant pride finds a parallel in hip-hop culture, wherein men “battle” and “dis” one another with pleasure. Why is it that we hear rap everywhere we go these days, from Walgreens to the breaks at sporting events? What is the special appeal? It is that, like rock and roll, rap contains an unfettered masculine energy that is rather lacking in our enfeebled, professionalized culture. Just look at those poor souls, always so harried and exhausted, Monday through Friday during rush hour. What a horrid sight! I am reminded of the words of a great French poet: “All active men seem playthings of grotesque deliriums.”

Boys must learn that authority and rank, though often mixed or worse, can be noble things. Professors think that they are wise to teach students to regard authority and rank as such with suspicion and resentment, yet this merely reflects their own conceited pathology. Authority and rank do not cease to be necessary simply because we don’t like them. Besides, there is in human nature a natural instinct to revere what is praiseworthy. There are videos on YouTube in which his soldiers display the profoundest respect for James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Mattis bravely led his men in extremely dangerous conditions that most of us cannot even imagine. For that they rightly hold “the warrior monk” in the highest regard. I have a much older scholarly friend to whose judgment on certain matters I am happy to defer. The reason is that he knows a lot more than I do about those things. It is therefore my good fortune to gain from him. The proper attitude here is reverence, not resentment, which both poisons the soul and precludes its elevation.

At the secondary level, boys should be taught by men. Student gender segregation also is desirable. And it would be silly to perceive “sexism” or “misogyny” here. We have seen the consequences of an education system dominated by women: boys put on drugs because they are boys and made to feel guilty about themselves for the same reason. It would be far better for a boy to have no education at all than to undergo a feminized one. The present system is the way to destroy a country; it is emphatically not a path to excellence.

All well and good. But it is not going to happen. Because to make it happen would require men, real men, to be in charge. It would require a functioning patriarchy. If we had a functioning patriarchy, we would not need to reinvent education. Without a functioning patriarchy, we also lack the virility to institute one. Decadence is not reversible. It has to be endured all the way to collapse and then, perhaps, to a new beginning.

The educational shortcomings DeGroodt decries are not causative. They are symptomatic. This is what happens when a culture has been terminally compromised and has entered a death spiral. If education today is dominated by women and dedicated to the unmanning of boys, it is because a prior unmanning elevated harpies into cultural arbiters. Shrews flourish when there are no longer men with the requisite virility to tame and manage them.

Why would the absolutism of money under capitalism produce anything but a race of “moneygrubbing mediocrities”? What else could it produce?

This is what erstwhile conservatives consistently overlook. They dream, in Zizek’s words, of a capitalism without capitalism.

Dream on.

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