30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace If They Want To Destroy Themselves, Part III

Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2 of this list-letter to Lisa De Pasquale in response to her memoir. Also see here for Hannah Sternberg’s contribution to the discussion, “5 Life and Relationship Lessons from Finding Mr. Righteous.”

21. Hedonism: “It is perfectly possible for entire peoples to live only for their own pleasure and feel nothing for their prospective obliteration.” – David P. “Spengler” Goldman, page 351 of It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations.

Dear Lisa,

I concluded part II with this question:

What does it mean to love someone? How do we learn to do it?

Amongst my book piles, I stumbled across this excerpt from page 141 of A Mystical Key to the English Language by Robert M. Hoffstein which points to the linguistic similarities between LIVE, LOVE and LEAVE as a clue:

I think the concept of what it means to “worship” someone, something, or God is no longer understood by most people. Do you think there’s a significant difference between love and worship? Are the series of patterns that you identify throughout the men in your book indicative of links between the way humans’ interpersonal relationships mirror their intellectual relationship with transcendence? Does the way in which we try to love others mirror the way in which we have learned to love God? Is worship a kind of training for loving others?

22. Obama Worship: the pop culture personality cult created by Valerie Jarrett, the woman who’s actually been running the country all these years.

Lisa, among the strengths of your book is the degree which you assess your relationship failures as not just the shortcomings of the various men, but also your own mistakes. Both sexes are to blame in playing their roles to foment unhappiness both in most interpersonal conflicts and in the larger cultural picture.

For example, in the dialogue about the spreadsheet husband upset that his requests for sex were turned down too frequently, it was not uncommon for many of the men’s rights commenters to accuse me of holding men to different standards than women and even naively believing women to be somehow men’s superior. I addressed that by reminding everyone of my primary political preoccupation all year, the woman I’ve concluded is actually her generation’s most successful political operative:


A comment from “A Classic Example of White Knighting” on another idol dragging down too many men and women today:

Lisa, what do you think of this thesis: the primary problem of the Obama administration — and also its political victories and continued cultural esteem — has been the oversized influence of Valerie Jarrett. Thus amidst all this back and forth about impeachment or suing the president or perhaps Eric Holder, I still assert that in a practical sense the best path forward is to rather try and remove the one who actually gets stuff done behind the scenes. Jarrett seems to be both the decision-maker and the enforcer. If she was forced to resign who could step in to replace her with both the same Cloward-Piven across-the-board agenda and the political intimidation to push it through?

23. Blatant Ignorance of Female Nature: “And why did he feel like he had to tell me the hurtful things people said?”

As captured on page 213 of Finding Mr. Righteous is the bad habit of Brandon the Nondenominational believer to frequently say what’s on his mind or what he’s found out without considering the emotional impact on others, particularly the woman he’s dating:

While a big piece of it is just Brandon being an inconsiderate person — there are other incidents of him being overly vocal about disappointments — his failing here has a more universal quality too. Men and women don’t process information the same way. A comment or idea that many men would observe quickly and file away, often times women will ruminate on more deeply and emotionally. This is both good and bad — sometimes the feminine ruminations yield more significant insights into emotions, other times they’re just reading in too much to something that isn’t worth their time and energy. This Prager University video on male and female differences comes to mind:

Being married for five years now I think I’m starting to piece together — just barely, after much trial-and-error — how marriage is supposed to balance out these temperaments. Sometimes thinking that I don’t take far enough my wife can often discover more significance. Likewise there have been times where she’ll come to me to ask if she’s reading into something too deeply.

24. Political Science Idolatry: those who think that converting people and governments to the one right secular political ideology (theirs) will save the world.

David P. “Spengler” Goldman, page 208 of It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations:

Goldman critiques not just the left and the neoconservative, nation-building Right but the root assumptions of secular political ideology that fail to factor in the natural state of humans: Babylon. The sunny view of human nature leads to both un-winnable wars and unsalvageable personal relationships: “…the great danger is in forgetting that America, too, is Babylon.”

What this means in a day-to-day, practical sense is that political ideology just isn’t enough on its own to overcome the world’s problems. Ideological movements and political causes are just two tools for reshaping ourselves and the world — culture, technology, the nuclear family and religion are others. Many instruments can come to play in harmony:

25. Politically Correct, Man-Child Cowardice: “Though it is terrible, can you really blame him for walking away? Some people did, mostly women, but they should try living in a man’s shoes for a while and they also might go on strike where interactions with minors are concerned.” -Page 98 of Dr. Helen Smith’s important book Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters 

Lisa, Dr. Helen’s book Men On Strike is one that I think is very useful for both men and women to comprehend some of the effects on the culture as masculinity has been challenged, devalued, misunderstood, and even redefined, often through the prodding of new laws and a lawsuit-eager legal culture. Both second and third wave feminism have been mixed bags for men and Dr. Helen does an extraordinary job of showing the new double standards and barriers men have often run up against, prompting some to “Go Galt” in many ways, dropping out of traditional masculine roles and expectations. In the excerpt above she highlights one of the most disturbing real world manifestations of what happens when men drop out from the world: children are not protected and more of them end up dead.

This example also illustrates where Dr. Helen and I respectfully begin to part ways. We agree on many of the causes of the problems she identifies in her book and on the importance of correcting them. Where we differ is more on a tactical level about what is necessary to increase masculinity’s prominence and respectability in society. (We kind of aim at different audiences…) Dr. Helen promotes the Men’s Right’s movement as a counter to the dominant strains of feminism. I promote Biblically-based religion and social conservatism and point to them as ways to inspire men to be more masculine. Mystically-based Biblical marriages create more manly men. The problem of Clive Peachey’s skewed value system is that his first instinct was to think of himself as a victim instead of recognizing his power to make sure others are not victimized. With a Biblical value system in place he would have treated each lost child in the same way he would want his own children treated in the same circumstances.

In my observations online over the years, absent these moral components too often the sentiments of the men’s right’s movement aren’t at the level of Dr. Helen or Warren Farrell and instead resemble overgrown teenagers raging against a diabolical feminist machine, eager to label any man who doesn’t go along with them a “beta” or a “gamma” or “pussy-whipped” or a “mangina” or some other playground taunt…

26. Permanent Adolescence: When Extreme Men’s Rights Movement Misogynists Talk Like Teenage Boys

One of the later comments on “A Classic Example of White Knighting,” perhaps the most disgusting: Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 6.54.24 AM

And some of the responses to Part II of this list:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.34.25 PM

I still remain amazed at the irony of my masculinity being questioned and challenged by guys who hide behind anonymity in comment sections. The act of using a pseudonym is akin to castrating oneself to author as a eunuch. And it’s OK to do that in certain writing circumstances — but it’s the equivalent of turning in one’s man card for the round.

27. Workaholism: Among The Idols I Struggle With the Most Too

“… it’s only a matter of time until you start to put your work before God and create a genuine idol of it.” – Elizabeth Scalia, page 158 of Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols In Everyday Life.

In the future I’m going to plan to research some lists exploring this bad habit and techniques to overcome it.

28. “Marriage is the only voluntary relationship that is fundamentally about sex.”

This comment exchange from  “‘Man Is More Inclined to Do Evil Than to Do Good’ – Machiavelli” and captured the difference between the religious and secular approaches to marriage but crystallized it better than others:

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 3.17.42 PM

As the excerpt from Dr. Helen’s book in point 25 revealed, we’re now in an age in which many men are too terrified of being labeled a pervert to help a lost child. So too we’re in an age in which what men are also giving up on is aspiring toward fatherhood.

From my own personal experience, I can report that Goldman’s thesis plays out at the micro as well as the macro. My agnosticism about being a parent mirrored my agnosticism about God. Taking an Old Testament-approach to the Bible has the strange effect of inspiring men to want to be more like Biblical patriarchs, growing as large a family as possible and protecting it from those who would enslave them.

29. Nihilism: The worship of nothing. (Hint: we become what we worship.)

In Harvey C. Mansfield’s Manliness he has a whole chapter about nihilism’s effect on manliness:

The middle section of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind is devoted to the unique quality of America’s nihilism:

“Nihilism as a state of soul is revealed not so much in the lack of firm beliefs but in a chaos of the instincts or passions.”

The late Andrew Breitbart described his rejection of the dark, depressing ideologies of his extended adolescence, page 36 of his memoir Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!:

Lisa, one of the ways to defeat an idol — Douglas Rushkoff writes about this in Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism — is the process of giving it a name. When we don’t know what we worship or what we believe then that has a name — worship of nothing, belief in nothing — is nihilism. This is the more accurate, underlying name of Chris the Atheist’s religion. Or at least one of them…

“Worship yourself and you become the god that failed.” – David P. “Spengler” Goldman, the conclusion of It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You, page 372:

30. Narcissism: What All of these ideas ultimately boil down to, the worship of the self and the things it creates instead of the Divine and the method through which God creates. “For it is only in the love of God, pouring into the rock of the Self that the flower of the soul begins to grow; before this, man was turned in on himself, mute and devoid of feeling. Only now is he–beloved soul.” – Franz Rosenzweig, page 183 of The Star of Redemption.

For a man to be able to really love other people he has to transcend his own love for himself. The only way I’ve figured out how to do this is, alas, the most un-cool, geeky, and embarrassing of all: returning to Biblical religion and values. The effect of doing this for me has meant learning to stop thinking primarily in terms of me, me, me and more in terms of being responsible for leading and building a new family.

Lisa, this of course applies to women too, and I’m so glad you’ve discovered it and done such a great job of illustrating it in your first book. I look forward to your sequel, in which you write about finally finding and marrying your Mr. Righteous– something I don’t doubt will happen sooner than perhaps you expect now that you have a better idea who you’re looking to find.

Best wishes in your journey,


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