In case you were under a rock this week at the intersection of culture and “science” (more on the quote marks in a bit) the American Psychological Association declared masculinity bad. Discussing the report issued by the APA, on the APA website, Stephanie Pappas wrote, “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.” Needless to say, this has erupted into a bit of a firestorm. Later in the week, as David French noted, the APA tried to spin their way out of the mess, but nobody is having it. My favorite takedowns of this silliness were by David French and Jim Geraghty, but there was a lot out there.
When I first read this I was simply dumbfounded. Given the ball of things that constitute progressive thought, it makes no sense. When you consider that progressive thought tends to hold to 1) That there is no God, 2) that being a good citizen of the planet means leaving the planet exactly as it is, without change or interference from mankind, and 3) that evolution has brought us here, how can one possibly conclude that men have come to this point in a harmful way, and further that they must be somehow changed?
Let me make that case a little more directly. If you hold that there is no God and that mankind has come to this place is history through evolutionary forces, is it not reasonable to conclude that the state of masculinity as it exists today is as evolution intended it? This conclusion is bolstered by general observation of masculine behavior amongst mammals that live socially. Further if you believe that nature is perfect and should not be mucked with, how dare you propose that masculinity is somehow harmful!
That’s the thing about progressive thought, it is a mish mash of wishes and desires, buried under a pile of data and dressed up to look like science. And now we get back to those quote marks around the word science earlier. Science is the study of nature in an effort to understand it and harness it for the good of mankind. And while the APA says it is scientific, this does not understand nature, but instead defies it. Science does not defy nature; science knows that nature is far more powerful than mankind will ever be. We may be able to harness nature to our benefit, but when we defy it disaster results. History is replete with this lesson, just consider the Johnstown flood or Galloping Gertie. Even far flung fiction gets this lesson – did you ever read Frankenstein as opposed to see the movie? It is quite legitimate to fear what will happen if we try to remove these traits from all men.
But this is also what you get when you remove God from the equation. Consider just two things. When God is in the equation we understand that nature is a reflection of God as it is God’s creation. The idea of not trying to defy it comes naturally. Furthermore, when God is in the equation we understand science to be coming to understand God by understanding His creation. Then it becomes natural to turn to sources outside of science when science runs out of answers. Thus we can turn to places like the Bible and understand that God intended men to be as they are, but tempered by their love for and worship of Him. With God we can harness “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression” instead of being victimized by them. With God these traits become useful.
This Sunday morning I am indeed fearful, but not of masculinity – of the hubris that drives people to conclude that masculinity is harmful. This Sunday morning I will go to church and once again lay my hubris at God’s feet.