In all the discussion of the horror in Newtown, one factor that should be considered is the absence of appropriate influences for boys and men in our increasingly feminized society. Many of the traditional supports for male maturity have been withdrawn, traditional manhood is often mocked and diminished, and the qualities promoted today tend to be the more feminine ones of acceptance, nurturance, etc., instead of the more masculine demand to measure up. The killers are often misfits of precarious masculinity, who may be unconsciously or consciously furious at a feminized world that denies and denigrates who they are. Years ago psychologist Erich Fromm described the difference between the unconditional love of the mother and the conditional love of the father. Both are needed, and of course it’s possible for both men and women to extend both kinds of love, but in the desire to glorify women, our society has gone too much in the one direction. Instead of teaching self-control, Dennis Prager points out, we teach self-esteem.
Then too, the obscene, sadistic, hyperviolent popular culture surrounding us has to be a factor as well, especially under the reigning dispensation of moral relativism, non-judgmentalism, and who’s-to-say-what-is-right-and-wrong. American freedoms are suited only to a people that understands morality and exercises self-discipline, but everything in our society invites us to live by our own lights and realize our own desires. In the ensuing chaos we may more and more find ourselves controlled by bureaucrats happy to take charge of the lives we more and more show ourselves unable to manage on our own. Ironically, eliminating or de-emphasizing the sterner male principle in ordinary life and education licenses the state to act as governor, which by the way, used to be old fashioned British slang for one’s father.