Rebirth of Reason


From the Horror Files: "The Battle For Your Brain"
by Joseph C. Maurone

Recently, I wrote a response to a comment by Lindsay Perigo regarding whining on American television:

"I think there is a conspiracy on TV to demasculinize the American male."

I half-jokingly used the word "conspiracy," but there's usually a bit of truth behind every joke. And as evidence, I would like to share the following passage from an essay entitled "The Battle For Your Brain," originally published in 'Reason' magazine, now presented in an anthology entitled 'The Best American Science And Nature Writing 2004,' edited by Stephen Pinker. The article references a bioethicist named Francis Fukuyama, who claims, "There is a disconcerting symmetry between Prozac and Ritalin...The former is described heavily for depressed women lacking in self-esteem; it gives them more the alpha-male feeling that comes with high serotonin levels. Ritalin, on the other hand, is prescribed largely for young boys who do not want to sit still in class because nature never designed them that way. Together, the two sexes are gently nudged toward that androgynous median personality, self-satisfied and socially compliant, that is the current politically correct outcome in American society."

Social engineering at its best.

I have to wonder, though: How can someone be "self-satisfied" if they are being drugged into "social compliance?" Women, who once went "running for the shelter of mother's little helper" are now supermoms on social steroids, and little boys, who once were brought up to be men, are now blossoming into "little women," drugged into compliance, "Queer-eyed" into metrosexuality, and drained of the urge to project that masculinity onto the world (maybe THIS is the reason that there are fewer great achievements in the world today? Paglia was criticized for saying that there are no female Mozarts because there are no female Jack the Rippers...).

Mind you, there is no intent to malign women, for they are just as much a victim of this aristocracy of androgyny. Women are told that they can do it all, and often do, dividing their libidos between playing dual roles of mother and breadwinner (especially in the case of single mothers). They become supermom, superwife, superachievers. I am glad to see that Dagny Taggart is possible. Dagny Taggart, however, had Hank Reardon, Francisco D'Anconia, and John Galt to compete with, and admire. But, for the real-life Dagny, is the cost of her achievement her feminity, which has been given to the male of the species? In an era where many a pop singer laments that "Superman is dead," "Wonder Woman" has risen to fill the void. But if Men of Steel are falling limp, with whom shall the Amazons enjoy what Rand called "the pleasure of surrendering?"

And this is not to say that there is nothing to be gained from an understanding of the opposite sex, or that there need to be arbitrary social constructions of gender roles. Men can be nurturers, and woman can be warriors. Both Leonard Peikoff and Nathaniel Branden have made this case, and as Sciabarra writes, while they may not embrace an "invisible androgyny," there are grounds for a synthesis of so-called masculine and feminine traits. And more power to my fellow homosexuals, both gay and lesbian, who refuse to accept the unearned guilt of their being, and to the transgendered, who prove that nature is more complicated than our culture's religious beliefs would allow. But to use the field of medicine to subvert the natural being of both men and women into a P.C. pogrom smacks of a brave new world that I want no part of; I'd rather revel in the noble savagery of my masculinity. Let little Johnny grow up to be "as nature made him." Let little Suzie wake up little Suzie.

As in government, so in gender:


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