Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions

EMASCULATING AUTHORITY

Posted by Andrew Roman on August 13, 2009

male and female

There is a disturbing, almost frightening  penchant toward feminization in today’s America. Doing what’s right in favor of that which feels good, or that which is geared specifically not to offend, has become the exception, not the rule. The feminist movement did much to demonize masculinity in our culture, and because masculinity is not cultivated in our institutions of learning, and is generally looked down upon by those who control academia, authority itself has taken a hit.

True authority – the kind that summons respect, reverence and even a touch of fear – is being pushed aside, condemned as antiquated patriarchal nonsense, in favor of more “progressive” methods of trying to maintain order. Thus, authority itself is emasculated, common sense is effectively castrated, and unintended consequences create new difficulties where there should be none.

This emasculated authority has several ugly heads, one of which is the “easy way out” approach to maintaining order.

As an example, think about a typical school yard fight between two boys.

Punches are thrown, bodies are rolling about in the dirt.

A crowd gathers around, and the audience starts cheering them on as they pound each other.

Eventually, the Dean (or some school official) rushes over to break it up.

As they’re being separated, both boys are still throwing punches, arms flailing in the air, hoping to land one last blow. The Dean says something like, “Okay, knock it off!” or he asks “What is going on here?” Predictably, one of the boys (if not both) will start pointing fingers at the other, screaming, “He started it! He started it!”

More times than not, the Dean will respond with the game-breaking, ever-diplomatic, “I don’t care who started it!”

Both boys will then get punished for “fighting.”

It’s precisely that kind of “easy way out” response that curdles my blood.

When I was in school, I remember hearing teachers and principals say they didn’t care who started the fights; they weren’t interested in justice. They only wanted peace.

It always infuruated me.

Why didn’t the Dean care who started it?

Shouldn’t he have cared?

Shouldn’t the Dean at least have tried to do the right thing and not unjustly punish someone who may have been defending himself?

These kinds of things have always driven me crazy – and they still do.

With authority emasculated, everyone is treated equally. The line which separates right from wrong is blurred. Feelings are spared. No one is allowed to feel worse than the other. Defining values is not a priority.

The “easy way out” approach – one of the by-products of this growing trend – manifests itself in many different ways.

In New York City, for example, students are not permitted to carry their cell phones into school with them (except in very specific circumstances). Apparently, the beeping, chirping and ringing was enough of a distraction to prompt a flat-out city-wide ban – even though the vast majority of students do not use them while in school.

Most kids, in fact, use their cell phones to stay in contact with parents after school. Seeing as city-street pay phones are quickly going the way of the eight-track tape, cell phones have proven – at least in this context – a positive thing. Yet, instead of each school being allowed to formulate its own rules regarding inappropriate cell phone usage during classroom hours, the city opted for an easy, dismissive, all-encompassing, band-aid-type fix of a much bigger wound, namely the ever-weakening hand of authority.

banWhen void of reasoned thought, ban, ban, ban.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not an endorsement of children having cell phones. Personally, seeing ten year olds with their heads down, staring into their cell phone screens, thumbs-a-tapping at breakneck speed, carrying devices so sophisticated that they can browse the internet while spell checking their book reports, is not my ideal. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve wanted to yank one from the clutches of some self-absorbed kid (almost redundant) sitting on a city bus, screaming into it at the top of his lungs, showing the rest of us how well he can use profanity, and shove it (along with an explosive device) into an orifice to be named later.

I must ask … why not just confiscate the phones of disruptive students the way teachers used to take away sling shots, secretly scrawled notes or, when I was kid, those hand-held electronic football games? Blaming the technology instead of the student sends the wrong message. Instead of just prohibiting cell phone use during school hours and, say, making it compulsory for phones to be turned off upon entering the building – and then having the backbone to actually enforce it – a cowardly ban was made law.

Perhaps more importantly, banning the phone doesn’t teach or enforce the value of having to exercise discipline. Despite the popular notion from leftists everywhere, technology is not the problem. As citizens of the greatest, freest and most advanced country the world has ever known, we should want to improve our standard of living, shouldn’t we? Why are cell phones somehow beyond the sphere of influence when it comes to teaching our kids restraint, responsibility and self-control?

I make this point, not as an advocate of the cellular phone industry, but as an authentic lament for the changing and misguided role of responsibility and accountability in our society.

People simply throw their hands in the air too easily.

To make a somewhat peculiar comparison, it is precisely this thinking that is behind those that blame guns for crime instead of those who use them recklessly or illegally. Indeed, the argument of everything having a time and place is well-taken. However, law abiding citizens who possess firearms are absolutely no threat to society. Only criminals are. Banning guns doesn’t keep bad people from acquiring or using them. By the same token, students who abide by the rules (and have the value system to know what’s appropriate and what is not) by keeping their cell phones turned off during school hours are no threat to disrupt the classroom – not with the phone anyway. Conversely, kids who have no regard or respect for the school and its authority will still manage to sneak them in and disrupt things.

It is about values, not technology.

I recall last year, in Cedar Lake, Indiana, a move was made by school administrators to foster a culture of safety – namely, the banning of all carry bags in school, including purses. Apparently, the ludicrous rule had been on the books for three years but only began being enforced last year.

The reason?

To make it more difficult for students to carry weapons and drugs into school.

No, really.

Book bags, purses and other potentially lethal carriers are to remain in lockers during school hours. One student commented, “People even got yelled at for carrying fanny packs and too big of a pencil holder, which is ridiculous.”

Why not a similar push to ban pockets?

Perhaps an all-sandal policy should be implemented to keep students from sneaking things into school via their sneakers?

At one time, clearly defined boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable were the norm. If rules were violated, the offender was punished. Behaviors that once had stigmas attached to them became more accepted. What were once good old fashioned expulsions from school became in-house suspensions. Fostering discipline and maintaining order were replaced with getting in touch with one’s feelings and having the “right” to express them. The line of thought that endorses the handing out of awards and medals to kids for simply “participating” in a given activity (so as to cheapen the kid who genuinely earns the award) is prevalent almost everywhere. The burden of actually having the courage to instill and reinforce good values in students is apparently too much for some educators these days, lest they offend anyone. Citizenship classes have been replaced with “save the earth” curriculums, safe-sex programs, and free condoms on demand.

How delightful.

It is the feminization of society.

Denene Reppa, mother of one of the Cedar Lake, Indiana students who was forced run to his locker in between each class to get the needed book instead of being able to carry several in a book bag, saw the bright side, saying, “Those types of organizational skills will transfer when she goes to college. Very important … She can keep her other things in there as well that kind of relate to her being a female.”

That’s definitely one way of looking at it.

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One Response to “EMASCULATING AUTHORITY”

  1. I appreciate your point about how important it is to get at the “instigator”… At least in hockey, a difference is (attempted to be) made. And, regarding your point on cell phones at school, I certainly believe that it is about values over technology.

    I think the case for authority (as you say “True authority – the kind that summons respect, reverence and even a touch of fear”) remains an absolutely critical component of society and business… I would argue, however, that there is also an excess of fear in today’s world, especially in the US. As I infer from your post, you would consider authority per se as a masculine trait? I would argue that this is not necessarily only masculine — many mothers are very good at bringing authority in the homefront. In any event, there are different ways to garner respect, many without necessarily employing fear (physical domination, etc.).

    On another level, I do not consider the “easy way out” as being singularly feminine. I would tend to put that down to the prevalent “political correctional” philosophy : not wanting to call an instigator an instigator (fear of “labeling” etc) or a spade a spade. On this point, I would agree that the pendulum has gone a bit far.

    Like all things, all things in moderation … and there are good things to be had from both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ ways of going about life. We all need authority and kids definitely need to learn their bounds and that message needs to be carried with authority as you so rightly put it. On the other hand, business, in my mind, remains steadfastly “masculine” and could do with a lot more ‘feminine’ thinking and feeling.

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