Saturday, July 20, 2013

Men On Strike

Men On Strike by Helen Smith, PhD. Encounter Books $23.99, 216 pages

If you're a guy, you need to read this book. Finally -- a smart, trustworthy and honest woman has the courage to say what a lot of guys are thinking: there is a bias against us. We're not crazy, guys. What has happened to us over the past thirty years is not all our fault.

The jacket of the book is beautifully done - something that you would want to have on the coffee table of your home for visitors to peruse. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensics and men's issues. Her credentials are impressive - Montel Williams, E!, Fox, Discovery, Biography and Oxygen, and she's written for the L.A. Times. She's recently been on KRLA with Dennis Prager and Michael Medved, two of the intellectual giants of talk-radio.

The prologue is brutally honest. "If you are a wimp, this book is not for you," she warns. Although what lies ahead is disturbing, being honest and forthright with one's self is the only way to handle it. Her putative audience is "the man who knows that something in today's twenty-first century is amiss. He can't put his finger on it exactly but feels deeply that modern society has turned its back on the average male."

In the Introduction, she talks about a general consensus within her client base that they feel like "wimps for having problems."

But the severity of the crisis is deadly. Suicide statistics for the latest year available (2010) show that of the 38,364 who killed themselves, 30,277 were men.

The feminist movement, anti-male attitudes on college campuses and the pop culture are causing men to recoil. However, the most egregious assault on men is being carried out in the legal system. Ms. Smith cites numerous examples:

*A man named Carnell Smith discovered that a child he thought was his son was fathered by another man. The courts did not speak of restitution nor of assigning responsibility to the biological father after hearing that the child's mother knowingly and willfully withheld the truth from him. Instead, the courts told Carnell Smith it was his fault for not discovering the truth and ordered him to pay child support.

**In California, a 34 year-old woman named Ricci had sex with a 15 year-old boy named Nathaniel. The woman got pregnant and had the baby. Even though under California law a minor cannot consent to sex, the court forced Nathaniel to pay child support to the woman who committed statutory rape against him.

***A man named Emile was visiting sick parents in a Louisiana hospital, when he was seduced by a nurse who gave him oral sex. After the act was complete, she darted away and impregnated herself. Nine months later Emile was a father and was forced to pay child support.

The premise of Men On Strike is that men are not really immature. Men are not really afraid of commitment. Men are not afraid of getting married and raising a family. And men are not shirking their responsibilities to society by refusing to form households. Men are running for cover.

And running for cover is a rational response to an assault.

Men are acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers, according to Ms. Smith.

or, "like the characters in Atlas Shrugged," she writes, "going on strike."

British Airways has a policy that bans men from sitting next to children who are not theirs, even if the parents are seated nearby. Businessman Mirko Fischer is suing the airline for discrimination. "This policy is branding men as perverts for no reason," he says.

"The negative stereotype of men as predators and perverts has harmed young boys who are not around any real live men," writes Helen Smith. If men keep withdrawing from society and have no interactions with boys, who will teach boys how to grow up and be men?

The most important Chapter in the book is "Why it Matters," where she writes, "Men are both being forced out and dropping out of the workforce in spades and our society doesn't care. Maybe when there are no more men working, people will start to notice, until then, they will just continue to discuss the "war on women" until there are no men anywhere."

Her point is that, for instance, when terrorists sliced through the Twin Towers on September 11,2001, it was men who ran into the burning buildings to rescue people. And it was men who went into Afghanistan a month later to topple the Taliban.

It was a team of men that stormed into a fortified compound in Abbottabad Pakistan to finally rid the world Osama bin Laden. And it is men who are risking their lives on our southern border everyday protecting us from drug cartels who want to poison school children.

One of Ms. Smith's rather astute volunteers exhorted, "In every traditional society men are the protectors against external and internal enemies. Since men no longer enjoy full and equal citizenship in our society, it's time society reap the crop they've planted. I will encourage, and I urge all other men in western societies who work with and train boys and young men to likewise encourage the males they encounter to NOT join the military, NOT to become a firefighter, EMT or Paramedic." His point here is that it will be interesting to see what happens someday when women dial 911 and no one answers.

The most prestigious review of Men on Strike thus far is by Charlotte Allen of The Wall Street Journal. Ms. Allen, however, complains that Men on Strike "contains surprisingly few references to actual studies."

This is irrelevant, because as Ms. Smith explains on page 143: "It is beyond the scope of this book (which is meant to be a call to action rather than a research study) to address every area of discrimination against men." Men On Strike is not about academic studies -- it's about moral clarity.

Charlotte Allen also contends that the posts to Dr. Helen's blog are from men that may have exercised poor judgment, like in the case of Emile. A man's poor judgement notwithstanding, the nurse's actions in this case are reprehensible, and must be condemned.

Men on Strike is well-documented; each chapter has over 25 references to anecdotes, incidents, sources and publications described in the book.

Congratulation to Helen Smith - well done.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Conservative Titles

After the attacks of 9/11/01, conservative commentators snapped into action: they wrote books. In the "Current Events" sections at Borders and Barnes & Noble stores, shelves were jammed with books on everything from national security to the economy.

Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Neil Boortz, Dennis Prager, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Anne Coulter, Michael Medved, Monica Crowley, Pat Buchannan, Mike Huckabee, Dick Morris, as well as politicians like Jim DeMint, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Tom Coburn all issued a call to action with titles like "Saving America," "Saving Liberty," "Teavangelicals," "The Tea Party Went to Washington," "How to Save Your Country and Save Yourself," "Unhinged: Why the Left is Angry Because Conservatives Are Winning," "Battleplan: Take Back America," and so forth.

Last week, I was at the Barnes & Noble in Deptford New Jersey looking for a new conservative book for some beach reading. I walked over to the "Current Events" ailse, and...

nothing.

Not a new title on the shelf. Nothing conservative published in 2013. I looked at every single book on every shelf and saw nothing. The entire section was bare. The store managers had to turn books from sideways to flat on the shelf to take up space.

Which led me to two conclusions:

1. Conservative pundits have forgotten how to write

or

2. They've given up on America.

After fretting for a half an hour, I finally settled on "Every Nation For Itself: What Happens When No One Leads the World," by Ian Bremmer (Penguin, 229 pages).

In the book, Mr. Bremmer is saying what most conservative pundits are probably thinking - that maybe it's over.

In an essay entitled "American Free Fall," Bremmer writes:

"The financial crisis accelerated an already inevitable shift in the world's balance of power from a U.S dominated global order toward one in which emerging powers have become indispensable for real solutions to a gathering storm of transnational threats. Politicians still talk of American exceptionalism, but mainly to ward off fears that it no longer exists. Declarations of superpower dominance have given way to whispers of default. Americans aren't worried simply by the rise of potential competitors. They're also concerned that the American dream is no longer within reach. The cumulative impact of the loss of so many manufacturing jobs over so many years, the depth and duration of the economic slowdown that followed the financial crisis, the frustratingly tepid pace of recovery, and fears for the country's ability to pay its long-term debt have taken a serious psychological toll."

This is the most optimistic thing he has to say about America.

So here are some ideas for talk-radio hosts, pundits, and other giants of the right-wing media to start cranking out books again:

"The Ten Big Lies About Socialism: Why a Lifetime Obama Presidency Won't Be So Bad" by Michael Medved

"At Least You Have Your Health" by Rush Limbaugh

"Power to The Poor People: Why I'm Giving Up and Going on Food Stamps" by Laura Ingraham

"The Enemy Without Opposition" by Michael Savage

"A Jeb in the White House: Why Jeb Bush Would Be Best to Manage America's Decline" by Hugh Hewitt

"Deliver Us From Christie: Why Marco Rubio Will Make You Love Amnesty" by Sean Hannity

"Mexitopia: Why You Should Learn Spanish" by Mark R. Levin

"Hinged: How the Left Got Its Groove Back and the Best Places to live in New Zealand" by Michelle Malkin

Here's one I'd really like to see:

"Canadatopia: How Canada Can Avoid Becoming Like America"

Just a thought.