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Addressing Strength

” People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
George Orwell

Chief among the difficulties we encounter in coming to terms with our strength is the problem of having neither physical nor moral strength. Physical strength is necessary in order for us to have the confidence to assert our moral strength and, conversely, moral strength is necessary to harness and inform our physical strength. That these two go hand in hand was recognized by all ancient warrior cultures. In turn these cultures sought to develop physical and moral strength simultaneously. This is the pattern we should seek to emulate.
We have to make the decision to move away from the moral relativism that is destroying our culture, and its people, to a firm moral philosophy that respects absolutes in right and wrong.
At the same time, we must develop our physical strength and reaquaint ourselves with the vigor it provides. We must learn to use them in unison and how, and when, to properly employ them.
To properly employ moral authority we not only need to have the conviction of our beliefs, but also a thorough understanding of them and how they relate to our own well-being and the well-being of our communities. If we understand this then we will be able to put forth strong, well-reasoned arguments to persuade others to adopt our positions.
For this reason we need training in Logic, Rhetoric, and History, as well as Ethics. Likewise, we shall have to train ourselves physically.
Physical training should include boxing, wrestling, MMA, etc., in addition to weapons training. We must remain aware that physical strength is a servant of our moral strength. It is a tool that we must become intimately familiar with, we must always seek to wield properly, and judiciously. It is a dangerous tool and must be accorded the respect it deserves. A tool used recklessly is as likely to injure the bearer as it is the opponent.
We are seeking to become a balanced man of the traditional warrior. The traditional warrior is both protector and provider, a pillar of his community. The classical man of history whether Gaelic, Norse, Germanic, Greek, or of the antebellum South was always seeking completion. He strove to be skilled in verse, speech, weapons, and dance. He was expected to be a good husband and father, a steadfast and loyal follower as a young man, and a wise and responsible leader when his time came. No man can consider his own welfare outside of the context of his own family and community. We need look only to Jesus to see a man whose behavior was always appropriata to the situation in which he found himself. We see the breadth of his manhood from his gentleness with small children to his driving the mony-changers from the temple.
We find ourselves in many relationships and situations throughout our lives. To know how to act we need not only our own strength and values, but also the lessons, direct and indirect, of older men. But all is for naught if we do not choose to observe, think and decide to make mature choices for our conduct.
In writing this blog, it is my fervent desire to convince men, young and old, to take up the mantle of being a man. To freely and willingly embrace responsibility and to look past short-term desires, and live their lives in such a way that they enrich the community of which they are a member. Our aim should be to reclaim our country, culture, and heritage. The first step begins within ourselves. We will build things one brick at a time, but first we have to make the bricks.
So, for the young man becoming, shelve the video games for rainy days. Get up and get to work making yourself stronger, inside and out. Read some of the classica and enlighten yourself. Ask your male relatives about your family’s heritage. Get to know the older men at work, on your block, and at church. They all have something to add to your life. When you are struggling with a project or repair go to one of them for information or advice. You will be pleasantly surprised at what they know, and their willingness to share it. And don’t forget to encourage your peers to do the same.
Older men, turn off ESPN, get up and down the street and see what the young men in your community are doing. Engage them, you will be able to draw on their energy and enthusiasm. They, in turn, will be enriched by your patience, knowledge, far-sightedness, and wisdom. You will find that not only are you still useful, but, indeed, you are far more valuable than you can imagine. As John Donne said, “No man is an island”

The Call Goes Out

As I was watching the movie “Open Range” the other evening, one scene in particularreally hit a nerve with me. Charlie Waite, Kevin Costner’s character, was speaking with a group of the townspeople. The conversation centered around the need to stand up to the local Land Baron, and his gang of hired thugs. One of the men wondered out loud, “What can we do? We’re just shopkeepers, tradesmen and such.”  Waite didn’t flinch; he called them out ” You’re men, ain’tcha?” A lady in the gathering responds, ” I didn’t raise my boys to die”. Waite is unyielding, he says, “You may not know this, but there are things that gnaw at a man worse than dyin”.

It was a shot, right between the eyes! That is exactly what the men in our culture need, to be called out. Why have men become so estranged from their single most important character trait, and what can be done to help them recover this connection? For without their strength, they may as well be eunuchs.

This analogy holds because strength is a function of testosterone. Testosterone is what makes us male in the first place; it is also responsible for our physical strength, and for the aggressiveness necessary to step up and employ that strength. We must also be concious of the fact that if we do not execise our physical strength, there is far less likelihood that we will display our moral strength.

Physical cowardice breeds moral cowardice. Men who are afraid to risk personal injury are far less likely to call out another man on his immoral behavior. I tis nonsensical to attempt to separate physical strength and moral strength, for, as the proverbial chain illustrates, a man is only as strong as his weakest point. Therefore, we address the man in his entirety

The adrogynous male, in all of his offensive glory, that is portrayed constantly in popular culture, is the archetype that must be replaced. This soft, effiminate, apologetic male strives mightily never to offend any character, or contradict his opinion. He is guilt-ridden and afraid of his own shadow, a bumbling, incompetent court jester, ala Dagwood Bumstead. We have seen this portrayal of man ascendant since the 1960’s and seen the descent of the classical male role-model. The classic male has been uder assault not only in pop culture, but also in academia. Witness the writings of Herb Goldberg and Robert Fisher ( to name a couple of them). The man of physical and moral courage, who is self-assured, is ridiculed, while the soft-spoken, spineless, moral relativist is exalted. We accept this redefining of man at our own peril.

If we wish to reclaim our communities and our country from the moral desolation that exists, we are first going to have to reclaim our strenisgth, and then use it. The battle starts here, with me, and with those of you reading this, who choose to answer the call. Polish your armor, and raise your sword. The road ahead may be dangerous and uncomfortable, but it will surely be an adventure.