I recently found myself in conversation with an individual, which lacking another label, I’ll describe as a working man of the old school. In his own description, this is somebody on the job on time, every day no matter what. A man to be counted on. One who does not take days off, no matter what. A man who doesn’t complain of hard work or hard conditions, or blistering heat, or numbing cold, or injury, or pain, or disregard as a human, or despair. A real man.
I’m confident he is exactly what he describes himself. A man who is strong, reliable, honourable, and stoic. And I also know this man takes a rightful pride in these qualities, and defines himself in part by his utility to others. My own characterization, not his.
He is definitely a real man. I also know that in our struggle for recognition of men and boys as human beings , it is this man and men like him who built and maintain the world we live in.
And what I told him was that he is what we are fighting against. Men who define manhood by being sacrificial beasts of burden. I told him this attitude is exactly why women, such as the female hosts and the female audience of a daytime TV show feel justified in treating the mutilation of a man as comedy.
And although I maintain that this self definition of male identity by men willing to work themselves to death , or to step between a bullet and a child or a woman in self sacrificial defence is what fuels and supports a runaway feminist ethic of hatred of men and disregard for their humanity, at the same time I have to recognize the greatness of what men like this represent. And who am I to tell any man he cant be that hero.
The problem is in the economy of human esteem, in which men are valued by utility, and devalued as human beings, denied consideration and that sacrifice used as the meter of their manly worth.
Men like this are great men, but their greatness and their self selected sacrifice is reflected back on themselves and on other men as required sacrifice by a culture who regards disposability as worth.
The guy who always shows up for work, sick or healthy? That’s him. The guy who never sees a doctor. The guy who in his conversation admits to serious health issues over the years. And in his next utterance points out that but over time he either stopped noticing them or they just went away.
A man who sees himself as a wooden robot, bark skin stretched over a sold core. Like a tree, only the outside, only bark is truly alive.
In his own words born and bred for sacrifice, for the common good.
This is a real person, a real man, and a valid human being. And to my ears, these words are the words of a slave, in bondage to a world which demands his life’s service, but a world which denies his humanity except in that act of sacrifice.
Without men like this, our world will fall in on itself. But without men like this, willing to serve as the disposable bodies of a feminized culture, we would not need to withdraw our sacrifice and protection.
The greatness of men like this one is truthfully what levered humanity from a survivalist, pre-civilized existence, into a modern safe, well fed and housed modern world. Men, and the corpses of men like the man I call the old school working man, are what paved the way for civilization. And now, the continued willingness of men to sacrifice, to be heroes is what no longer serves us. It’s what enables and supports a growing culture of feminized entitlement, childish self indulgence, lack of human empathy, and which retards the adulthood of our culture. Heroes as great as they are, and as much as they are owed, have got to go.
“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man…. The rails are laid on them, and they are covered with sand, and the cars run smoothly over them. They are sound sleepers, I assure you. And every few years a new lot is laid down and run over; so that, if some have the pleasure of riding on a rail, others have the misfortune to be ridden upon.”
~1854: Henry David Thoreau