Is Traditional Masculinity Harmful?
The latest junk-thought from the American Psychological Association.
Gillette’s We Believe: The Best Men Can Be is essentially a video version of the recent American Psychological Association statement that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” And the APA gives the impression that traditional masculinity by men of no color is an especially pressing concern.
This view, the APA explains, is the result of 40 years of research, launched by emeritus psychology professor Ronald F. Levant EdD, co-editor of the APA’s The Psychology of Men and Masculinities, and a former APA president. “Though men benefit from patriarchy,” Levant notes, “they are also impinged upon by patriarchy.”
Dr. Levant, meet Joachim Ronneberg, a Norwegian resistance fighter who died last October at the age of 99. This man was only 21 in 1940, when the forces of National Socialist Germany invaded Norway. Ronnenberg and eight friends could have passively submitted to Nazi rule but they escaped to Scotland, where they could have remained in safety. Instead they opted to return, with good reason.
At the Norsk hydro facility at Rjukan, Telemark, the Nazis were producing deuterium oxide – heavy water – a component of their plan to build a nuclear bomb. Ronnenberg and five other commandos – all men and all of pale complexion – parachuted onto a plateau, and skied across country. Then they accessed a railway line, rode into the plant and planted explosives.
After blowing up the plant, the five fled on skis 200 miles into Sweden, chased by 3,000 Nazi soldiers. Ronnenberg, who never expected to survive the mission, called it “the best skiing weekend I ever had.” He never bragged about his role in blocking Hitler from getting nuclear weapons but during the 1970s he said “Those growing up today need to understand that we must always be ready to fight for peace and freedom.”
There’s that dangerous aggressive masculinity the APA’s erudite Dr. Levant warns about. It was also on display in Canada’s Eighth Reconnaissance Regiment, Second Infantry Division, all men, all persons of no color, and the vast majority of English descent. On April 12, 1945, these men liberated the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands, saving 876 prisoners from being shipped to certain death at Auschwitz.
“When I saw the tanks come through and they threw candy and chocolates at us, it was great,” a former prisoner named Fried told the Canadian commander Gen. Eric Tremblay. “I think that’s what inspired me to become a soldier. Here I am, sir, and I’d like to thank you and the Canadian forces for liberating us.” More dangerous traditional masculinity at work, as with the men who stormed the beaches and parachuted into Nazi-occupied France to supply the Maquis, the real resistance fighters.
Anybody could see traditional masculinity at work in people like Charles “the Hammer” Martel, who smacked down Abd al-Rahman and his jihadist Muslim invaders at Tours in 732. Jump ahead to a French train in 2015, when Islamic terrorist Ayoub El Khazzani aimed to gun down civilians. Unarmed American passengers Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos could have run away but the three men charged, disarmed and subdued the terrorist, preventing a certain massacre.
Those saved from death by brave men might find strange the notion that traditional masculinity is harmful, much less some form of mental illness. After all, this is what you would expect from a discipline based on the fantasies of a Viennese cocaine-head. For all but the willfully blind, the APA charge is pseudo-academic nonsense. It is as though the American Medical Association declaimed against the male right arm, capable of inflicting violence. On the other hand, this sub-junkthought masquerades as “social science,” so it would be foolish to ignore it.
Recall that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a one-party Communist dictatorship, considered dissidents to be mentally ill and tossed them into insane asylums. In similar style, when some American professional association targets you as toxic for something you can’t control – age, gender and skin color – it pays to watch your back..
Politicians, policy makers and the public at large need pay no heed to the American Psychological Association, any more than some American Phrenology Association or American Lysenko Association. The Counterrevolution of Science, by Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek provides some helpful background, and with “democratic socialism” all the rage with Democrats, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom could also use some attention.
As Mark Twain reportedly said, the man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. But there goes that traditional masculinity again. Meanwhile, if any male told Dr. Levant to stick his theory where no light shines, it would be hard to blame him.