4.12.15

WHERE HAVE ALL THE HEROES GONE?

They're only necessary when, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's words, the "hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril.  But should domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invaders' step pollute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come."

Seventy years of relative peace, with first fascism, then general poverty, then Communism, vanquished, and the Zeitgeist is that the Gray Champion is obsolete.
The Abolition of Man discusses two very different kinds of education -- one closely connected to objective morality and one which considers itself superior to a morality which it considers subjective.

“In the older systems both the kind of man the teachers wished to produce and their motives for producing him were prescribed by [conscience] -- a norm to which the teachers themselves were subject and from which they claimed no liberty to depart,” Lewis explains. “They did not cut men to some pattern they have chosen,” but rather “they initiated the young neophyte into the mystery of humanity which over-arched him and them alike.” It was merely “old birds teaching young birds to fly.”

The newer system, by contrast, regards morality as flexible and unnatural. According to this understanding, “judgements of value are to be produced in the pupil as part of the conditioning.” The new teachers -- whom Lewis calls the Conditioners -- “know how to produce conscience and decide what kind of conscience they will produce.”
And as long as there was no perceived utility for heroes, the trendy thinkers could play in their sandboxes.  Which might make sense, because the hero is sometimes scary.
Alpha males are necessary and cannot be done without. At times of emergency no one is more lauded. But when the emergency is over, no one is more unwelcome than the alpha.

We see this repeatedly. Mad Max watching the last civilized tribe vanish down the highway before driving off into the desert alone. Dirty Harry turning his back on an utterly corrupted system.  Shane riding into the wilderness as the young boy cries his name. It’s no different in the real world.
J. R. Dunn suggests the marginalization of the hero is a feature of modern times.
We live in a world run by betas and their lady friends. A world that is not only unwelcome to the alpha, but one that is blatantly hostile to everything he stands for. A world that not only denies any place to the male champion, but denies any need for him, and even argues that he never truly existed. Much of the history of the past half-century -- from radical feminism to gay rights to the various “New Masculinities” that have appeared, amused the girls on “The View”, and then vanished, can be explained by this paradigm. We live in a culture that has, quite under the table, decided to discard one of the driving wheels of human existence, one in operation since the days of the Serengeti, without considering or planning for what that might mean.
You might profitably look at the list of the most popular boy names these days and note the absence of any of the traditional one-syllable names of The America That Worked(TM).  But as surely as fire will burn us, some of these infants might have to reacquire the heroic virtues, despite the best efforts of the deconstructionists to deconstruct.
We were promised by feminists that once women took their places in leadership positions, we would immediately have a better world, predicated on the female virtues of moderation, community, and compromise. This may have worked in a world in which every society was operating on the same level. But in a milieu overrun by gangbangers, jihadis, organized criminals, and petty tyrants, all the Ritalin in the world is not going to help.  An aversion to subjecting women to the same level of criticism as men has given a system characterized by fatuity, frivolousness, irresponsibility, and incompetence caused by unwillingness to acknowledge how the world actually works. Angela Merkel, Hillary, and Claire McCaskill can serve as examples. But we could go on.

The good news about this is that it’s self-limiting. No society can operate in complete defiance of natural law for very long (Just look at Islam for an example.) Eventually, alphas will be annoyed enough to leave their current strongholds (generally business and arts such as film and music, where swashbucklers are still admired, along with the Internet -- what are hackers but the highwaymen of old armed with mouse and modem?) to straighten things out. The question is, how much damage will occur before that happens?
We have much to look forward to.

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