On November 1, 2021, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley delivered a powerful keynote address to the National Conservatism Conference on “The Left’s Attacks on Men in America.” In this speech, Hawley pointed out how the Left’s repeated attacks on “toxic” masculinity has not only weakened manhood in America, but it has also greatly weakened our families, our communities and our country and that only by revitalizing true masculinity can we halt the devastation.
Hawley opened his speech by noting that the left has been waging an incessant and devastating campaign against manhood over the past few decades. He stated:
“But what I want you to notice, what I want to call out tonight, is this fact: that the deconstruction of America begins with and depends on the deconstruction of American men. The Left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic. They want to define the traditional masculine virtues—things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness—as a danger to society. This is an effort the Left has been at for years now. And they have had alarming success. American men are working less, getting married in fewer numbers; they’re fathering fewer children. They are suffering more anxiety and depression. They are engaging in more substance abuse. Many men in this country are in crisis, and their ranks are swelling. And that’s not just a crisis for men. It’s a crisis for the republic. Because the problem with the Left’s assault on the masculine virtues is that those self-same qualities, the very ones the Left now vilify as dangerous and toxic, have long been regarded as vital to self-government.”
The Senator pointed out how the leftist elites in our universities, corporations, Hollywood, the expert classes, and the media have all been acting in concert to denigrate manhood:
“Hollywood delivers the toxic masculinity theme ad nauseum in television and film. And our expert class amplifies it. The American Psychological Association now advises that “conforming to traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development … and negatively influence mental health and physical health.” Manhood is a disease to be defeated. The Left delivers the same message in the press, through the corporations, and through advertising. Gillette infamously ran an ad campaign for its razors in 2019 that included this voice-over: ‘Bullying … MeToo movement against sexual harassment … toxic masculinity … is this the best a man can get?’”
And the results are predictable. Men are dropping out of the workforce. They are forgoing higher education. (Indeed, soon women will outnumber men in college by 2-1.) And, worst of all, men are avoiding marriage. Hawley declared:
“Marriage rates are plummeting. And the age of first marriage continues to rise, as men push commitment off further and further into the future. By 2010, a majority of men in this country between 25 and 34 had never married. And that trend has accelerated since.
Fewer marriages means fewer fathers in the home. By 2020, over 18 million American children lived without a father present. That’s more than a quarter of all children in America. And I probably don’t need to remind you that an absent father is strongly correlated with increased childhood poverty, childhood depression, and poor academic performance….”
Hawley then added regarding all these negative trends: “[C]an we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games?… And while the Left may celebrate this decline of men, I for one cannot join them. No one should.”
So what can we do to revitalize manhood in America and reverse the destruction of the past few decades? Hawley declares:
“[W]e must seek a revival of strong and healthy manhood in America. We need men who will shoulder responsibility, men who will start and provide for families, men who will enter the covenant of marriage and then honor it. We need men to raise up sons and daughters after them, to pass on the great truths of our culture and history, to defend liberty, to share in the work of self-government. We need the kind of men who make republics possible.”
Hawley gives several suggestions for doing this. First, “We can start by repudiating the lie that America is a systemically oppressive nation and that men are systemically responsible.” Second, we need to repeatedly tell men they are worthy and play an indispensable role in our country. We need to say to men that:
“You can be a tremendous force for good. Your nation needs you. The world needs you. Your strength can liberate others. Your power can serve those in need. Your creativity can light new paths. Your courage can defend the weak. Your faithfulness can raise up sons and daughters after you and make their way straight. You can make this a more perfect nation. We must say this to men of our society from the time they are small and teach it to them in our classrooms and in our homes and in our churches.”
Third, we need to rebuild our economy. Hawley stated:
“We must rebuild an economy in this country in which men can thrive. And that means rebuilding those manufacturing and production sectors that so much of the chattering class has written off as relics of the past. In this country, we are more than mere consumers. We have been the makers of great and mighty things, and we shall be again. The DC experts will say it’s impossible; better to outsource our production to China or Mexico or other places where labor is cheap. But free labor and slave labor should never be put on an even plane. And it is free labor worthy of free men that we are after.”
Fourth, and most importantly, we need to let men know that their role in the family is indispensable. Hawley unequivocally declares: “We should be clear in the message we send about family and unapologetic: There is no higher calling, and no greater duty, than raising a family. And we should encourage all men to pursue it.”
In his keynote address to the National Conservatism Conference, Senator Josh Hawley talked about a topic the Left would rather avoid: How the incessant attacks on masculinity over the past few decades has not only harmed men but have devastated our families, our communities, and our nation. In his powerful conclusion, Senator Hawley declared:
“The Left is telling America and its men, you’re evil. You’re terrible. You must apologize and submit to your government masters to be reformed. I suggest we offer a different theme, one that goes like this. … America is yet that city on a hill, and the eyes of the world are yet upon us, looking to us for hope. American men are and can be an unrivaled force for good in the world—if we can strengthen them, if we can empower them, if we can unleash them to be who they are made to be. Then they shall, in the words of Scripture, “build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations; they shall repair the ruined cities, [and] the devastations of many generations.”
Let us hope that America heeds Hawley’s message before all the real men disappear and the country sinks ever lower into chaos and despair.