And is Such a Disengagement a Bad Thing?
As a conservative middle-class man, I’m increasingly worried about the status and role of men in Western society. As you look in the past, there are many examples of the bad things that can happen when societies don’t provide men with positive societal outlets that allow them to engage and thrive in society.
Perhaps the most recent and greatest examples are the years that led up to WWII. In the fifteen odd years before both the world’s most terrible war, large swaths of the male population were idle or were otherwise disengaged in society or were engaged in less than positive things.
Which isn’t to say that we’re necessarily on the cusp of a societal cataclysm, but if you listen to the media and the podcasts I do, there is an ongoing conversation about men and how they’re pulling back from society and this is having a real-time negative impact in many Western countries.
So what are the areas where men (and boys) are becoming disengaged in society?
Primary School Favors Female Ways of Learning:
For at least two full generations, schools (K to 12) have been primarily designed to support how girls learn.
What does this mean practically?
For long periods of each learning day, boys are required to sit still and pay attention to lessons that are being delivered. For many boys, the idea that they can sit still for more than twenty minutes at a time is hugely challenging. For too many boys, the challenge of being good students is a frustrating endeavor. On top of this, female teachers make up eighty percent of all teaching positions, so there are few role models for boys to relate with/look up to. Finally, boys are prescribed ADHD medication at much higher rates than girls. Among other things, ADHD medication dulls the physical and mental shine off of boys making their physical and intellectual journey through primary and high school gray and drab. The result is that boys are performing more poorly than girls in K-12 academics; this poor performance follows them into the next stage of their lives.
Universities are No Longer Welcoming for Men:
Again, for the past two generations, universities have become increasingly hostile to men. The primary reason for this unwelcoming environment is the feminization of campuses. Across North America, in the arts and social sciences, women make up the majority of faculty positions and the majority of these faculty strongly favor left oriented theories about how the world works. To this, add the female staff that now make up anywhere from fifty to eighty percent of positions. Finally, at the majority of universities, female students make up between fifty and eighty percent of the students.
As you would expect from this demographic make up, this results in a whole host of policies and programs that work against men and their interests. For example, from 2012 to 2016 or so, the Me Too movement created policies across North America that placed the burden of proof regarding alleged sexual assaults on the respondent, who is in ninety-nine percent of cases, a man. This is directly opposed the legal standard of “innocent until proven guilty.” In effect, young men at universities are seen and treated as guilty the moment they’re faced with an allegation. To be clear, I am for men being held accountable for their behaviours, but the system that must deliver fair outcomes, in most instances, cannot do this.
Another example: while there are Women’s and LGBTQ centers on every campus in North America there are no centers, clubs, or even programs that are designed to support men. In fact, when students have tried to create such groups in the hopes of supporting what is now a minority status group on campus, they’ve been unfairly shut down by student governments.
With little question, university campuses in North America are places men are committing to in fewer numbers. One major reason for these reduced numbers is the changed environment on North American campuses.
Popular Male Vocations of Choice Don’t Require a University Education:
Policing and emergency services, the military, trades of all kinds, technology operators, manufacturing, transportation, and business. All of these vocations are preferred and dominated by men. Not coincidentally, none of these professions require a university degree. With each passing year, increasing numbers of men are looking at what is on offer to them in the university system and they’re turning down this career path.
The calculation young men are making about post-secondary education is as follows: Why would an eighteen year old man take on $40,000 to $120,000 in debt to endure four years to endure a hostile environment that will give him an education that is largely impractical for the vocational interests they have?
So while men are working and being successful in many vocations, fewer men are engaging in professions that have an oversized influence in Western society. These professions are politics (yes it’s a profession), the civil services, and law.
Fewer Men Engaging in Politics:
For better or worse, universities are a significant pipeline for political leadership. Because there are fewer men in university, statistically, fewer men will move from university into politics. But it goes deeper than surface-level statistics. Those men that do pursue politics that come out of the university system are much more likely to believe in and purport university-sanctioned ideas (think white privilege, CRT, EDI, ESG, and the rest of it), and will take up these ideas in whatever political arena they take up. In effect, those men that do go into the professional political class after university, have thoroughly stewed in an environment that is anti-male, and in many cases, these same men become the most effective leaders of the anti-male movement that is prevalent across Western democratic countries (think Justin Trudeau in Canada or Pete Buttigieg).
Fewer Men Becoming Public Servants:
Because the university degree is needed for all public service roles, fewer men are entering this hugely important career path. Along with the feminization of politics, there is an increasing feminization of the public service.
Presently, in Canada, you are seeing the results of this increased feminization of politics and public service as exemplified by a huge expansion of government social programs. The list of such programs is long and expensive: all-day kindergarten, a national child care program, a national dental care program, a carbon tax program, increased taxes overall, and the titanic structural deficits that will saddle future generations of Canadians with a debt load that previous generations would have found unconscionable.
CAVEAT: Now before you go and accuse me of being a misogynist, let me say that I don’t have a problem with women in the public service or being politicians. As of the writing of this blog, I am a career public servant and I have worked effectively and respectfully with women. Further, women, just as men, are not a political monolith. There are many women engaged in politics that are opposed to policies like the carbon tax and structural deficits, just as there are many female public servants who dislike the policies that have produced national dental and day care programs. My point in this article is that Canada and Western democratic societies are moving in a direction where one particular gender is becoming dominant. It was not a good thing in 1957, just as it will not be a good thing in 2027.
To further drive home this point as pertains to the civil service – men represent fifty percent of the population. Increasingly, they represent a smaller percentage of Canada’s public service. For example, overall, the federal public service is made up of 55% women and 45% men. It’s a ten percent difference. And if you look at the most recent trendlines, you can see that over the past five years, the percentage of new female public servants has continued to move upward while men have declined.
In 2020 and 2021, the percentages of women gaining federal public service positions were 58.3 and 60 percent respectively. And there’s no reason to think that these trends are going to relent. As this trend persists, within the next 10-15 years, it’s quite likely we’ll see something in the range of 60 to 70 of executive roles in the public service being held by women.
To reiterate, my point isn’t that a female dominated public service will be anti-men or that there will be some conscious collective effort by public servants to reduce men to some impotent force within society. My point is that when there is an increasingly large statistical discrepancy between two populations, it is virtually impossible for the inherent views of the dominant group not to dominate.
Here’s the kicker: the public service has a massive influence on politicians through the public service’s provision of policy advice. Policy advice in turn leads to policy implementation. If a large majority of your policy advice is coming from a particular group (e.g., women) and is going to a particular group of people (namely female politicians and feminized university educated men), one shouldn’t be surprised by the outcomes being delivered.
As a side note, the legal profession is also seeing a dramatic shift in gender participation. In Canada, women now make up 60% of all law school spots. At some law schools it is as high as 70%. In the US, women presently make up 55% of all law school positions. And while men will continue to dominate law in the private sector for years to come, it is also the case that within all levels of government that women make up a sizeable majority of in-house legal counsel. This adds further weight to the policy influence that the female gender has in Western society.
What’s in Store for Men in the Near Future?:
So what are the practical outcomes of the developments I have outlined above? There are many, but let me flag two of the biggest consequences I see:
Increasing Numbers of Men Seeking Meaning from the Wrong Sources:
As society continues with its push against values that resonate with men, increasing numbers of men are going to search for guidance, advice and fellowship in places that haven’t yet been feminized. Unfortunately, for many men, the place they will most easily access for direction and support will be the internet.
Increasingly, men are being drawn to individuals or groups that are willing to push back against society’s growing anti-male narrative. In my opinion, it is the general push back against society that is more appealing for men than any one policy prescription that is being advocated for online. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely you can engage in the idea of a general societal pushback without taking up at least some of the individual ideas being put forward by the people online.
The most visible and popular example of this pushback is Andrew Tate. Even with his recent troubles in Romania, Mr. Tate’s popularity remains oversized with teens and twenty-something men. But Tate is one of many such characters.
It is critical to ask ourselves why Tate and people like him are so popular, while men that hold traditional values that are superior are comparatively much less popular.
Without a doubt, Mr. Tate has become popular because he is willing to publicly and unabashedly push back against a society that is making extraordinary efforts to get men to think and act in ways that go against the traditional values that they hold.
Of course, Tate is not the only guy who is putting out these views, he’s just the most notorious. The point is that hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of men are being influenced to think in ways that further widen the sociological and political gaps that exist within our society. And as each year passes, this group of men is growing. At some point over the next ten years, this group of highly disaffected men is going to form a sizeable minority within Western counties.
Fewer Men Interested Marriage and Having Families:
Consider the following:
- Women and men are connecting in fewer numbers in university and college;
- Men and women’s professional lives come together less often so they have fewer chances of meeting in an environment that’s conducive to long-term relationships;
- The internet has made pornography ubiquitous; young men are learning about sex and relationships from this source material and gaining sexual satisfaction from porn instead of real relationships;
- Dating apps have supplanted traditional ways for men and women to meet and to engage in courtship;
- The cost of housing (and life generally) has made it more challenging than ever for men and women to afford their own place to live. As a result, many young people are forced to live with their parents. Without a doubt, this further compounds the difficulties of getting into and maintaining a serious intimate relationship.
Together, these factors result in fewer people getting married. Stats show that more than ever, men and women are less interested in getting hitched. For men, this growing aversion to commitment has huge implications.
Here are some facts: A married man is a better man. His political views are likely to be more moderate, he is less likely to engage in crime, he is more likely to have economic stability, he is more likely to give to charity, his mental health will be improved, and overall, he is more likely to be a better contributor to society.
If greater numbers of men are not getting married and all of the things just mentioned happen less in Western civilization, what is the result?
The answer is that all of the things I have mentioned in this essay get worse as do the following things:
- There are more and stronger political disagreements;
- Crime increases;
- There are increasing deteriorating mental health outcomes across all segments of society;
- People are less financial successful;
- Overall, society becomes more fractious and depressed.
Conclusion: What Will Happen if Enough Men Push Back?
Above, I’ve run through some of the societal factors that are impacting men. Together, these factors represent a tide of mostly negative societal pressure on the male gender and their place in Western civilization. In a nutshell, men feel like they’re being pushed out from having a meaningful place and role in society.
Across Western civilization, many men are seeing a variety of movements and/or individuals who are pushing back against the trend of feminization outlined in this essay. Some of those that are pushing back you know well, some of them you do not, some of them have not yet revealed themselves. It is this pushback that concerns me.
In the fictional world I’ve created in my CANZUK at War series, the United States is in the midst of its second civil war, and this civil war was created in large measure by the phenomena talked about above.
Is it possible the United States and other parts of the Western world will experience a major political fracture because of the schisms that are being created by the feminization of Western civilization?
Ten years ago, I would have told you it was an impossibility. But now, if you polled Americans, I think there’s a good chance some healthy percentage of them would tell you their country is heading toward some type of reckoning.
What do I mean by a healthy percentage? Well, in 2016, there was only a twenty percent chance Donald Trump would become president. Further, historians will tell you in the years leading up to the American Civil War and WW I that very few people were forecasting the cataclysm that each of these conflicts caused. The point is that things that are unlikely to happen or that are unforeseen, can and do happen all of the time.
As a conservative minded guy, I’m not against progress. I support it wholeheartedly. But the idea that well meaning folk can have informed conversations and come to reasonable compromises on the issues that divide us is a concept whose time appears to have passed.
As things stand in our society, there is a take it or leave it dichotomy that is playing out, and on most issues, I would respectfully suggest that the interests of men are being disregarded and in some cases are being trampled on.
This disregard is creating a build up of negative feelings that were society a pressure cooker, it is quickly coming to the point where some amount of steam has to be let off. But if the steam is not released in a controlled manner, the rules of physics, indicates that the pressure cooker’s energy will be released in an uncontrolled manner. It is this uncontrolled release that has me worried and has compelled me to write the stories that I am writing and my blogs. And I’m not the only one. The Handmaid’s Tale is but one example of the rich vein of creative thought that is forecasting the future.
For men, the next 4 to 8 years or so could be the most challenging and interesting times many, many generations. We shall see.
Ryan Flannagan is the author of Take Whiteman, A CANZUK at War novel. Visit Ryan’s website: www.raflannagan.ca to learn more about Ryan and his writing.