Monday, May 19, 2008

A Real Man? Yeah, maybe in 1808

For the latest evidence of how social conservatives are stuck in a time warp, check out the latest article from John Hawkins. While his general theme is a good one (who can argue that we need less responsibility), his perspective is so warped it is hard not to laugh:

"We human beings are born savages, not much different than highly intelligent wolves. It's only because we have been socialized, civilized, taught better, and bathed in the grace of God that we have the wherewithal to live together respectfully in a civilized society."

I've been over this with Hawkins before. We are naturally social beings, and don't need to be taught not to kill each other and otherwise act civilized. Most of us simply lack the urge to act differently, especially those of us unpolluted with god thoughts. But as outdated as that is, check out this humdinger:

"To begin with, a real man should be able to shoot a gun, catch a fish, hunt, take and throw a punch, know what to do if a tornado or hurricane hits, cook a steak, jump-start a car, change a tire, drive a stick shift, give a firm handshake, read a map, handle a budget, swim, tie a tie, give a 5 minute speech, comfort someone who has just had a loved one die, negotiate a raise or a price on something he's going to buy, and tell a pushy salesman 'no.'"

What year does Hawkins think it is? 1808? While I'm not one to down another person's choice of entertainment, in 2008 that's all shooting, fishing, hunting, and boxing are. In our modern society, they are no more relevant to being a real man than are horsemanship and ableness with a sword. Hunting and fishing went out of style with the invention of grocery stores.

Unfortunately, this attitude is prevalent among social conservatives. They argue as if nothing has changed about society in the last 200 years.


Sarah said...

I am reminded of the Robert Heinlein quote:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
- Time Enough For Love

Can't say I can do all those things, but I like the range a heck of a lot more than that "real men" quote!

Another Robert Heinlein quote - "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh."

ScienceAvenger said...

Yes, Heinlein is much more my style. I'm certainly not one to advocate being a big pussy. People just have to understand that standards change, and much of what was completely reasonable and honorable to expect 200 years ago is not so now.

ScienceAvenger said...

Here's one: Every real man should be able to spot an internet scam.

Steve Gluck said...

Hawkins and Heinlein are saying basically the same thing - tough neither has it completely right; that people should be able to function in bothe the physical and intellectual worlds. And outside the urban environment, what you call "standards" haven't changed much in thousands of years. The gap between the urban intellectual and people who work the land is huge and growing; big problem for the world. Overpopultion, not withstanding, the earth's resources are being sucked dry so that urban intellectuals don't have to get their hands dirty.