Monday, April 9, 2012

Men At Work: A Meaningful Life

“The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.”
Bella Abzug,
 American social activist & leader of women’s movement,
in “Bella!: Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington,”
Saturday Review Press (1972), p. 80

“I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women's Rights’, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety. Lady Amberley ought to get a good whipping. Were woman to unsex themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection.”
Queen Victoria, 
in a private letter to Sir Theodore Martin in 1870

One of the chief meanings that men get from life is to work and to provide for the family. I say “men” for a reason and with a purpose in mind, because men derive meaning from work more than do women. It’s generally true, and this has nothing to do with my position on women’s ability to excel. If you read my blog postings, my views are formed within the larger framework of human dignity for both males and females. Although some might deny such things as sexual differences, there are real differences between males and females that reams of scientific studies have shown and proven. One can always choose to ignore such differences, yet it doesn't alter the facts one iota.

Today, the subject of men and employment is a taboo subject. Yet, in an open and democratic society, it needs airing. Feminism and the effects of its politics of resentment and entitlement, in the last four decades, have placed men in the uncomfortable and sad position of not being able to find employment—and without a job too many men have slid into despair and reside with a definite loss of meaning.

In an effort to better the position of women, among other disenfranchised groups, preferences for university admissions and thus jobs have now been given to women. These programs of social engineering have been successful. Women now outnumber men in the workforce [see here here]. Women now outnumber men in university admissions and university graduates [see here and here], which is a good indicator of employability. While this is generally a good thing—no one doubts the ability of women to excel in many fields—it's come at a social and, more important, a personal cost to individual men and their families. The unemployment rate for men has been steadily climbing, where it now is greater for men than for women [see here.]

This includes myself. A few years ago, after more than 10 years of freelancing, I considered returning to the workplace full-time in the publishing sector, I sent out dozens, if not hundreds of CVs. I received a handful of interviews, despite my education and many years of experience. In all the positions that I had applied for, the person conducting the interview was a woman, more often than not younger than I. When you have been through many interviews, you know whether or not you are a serious candidate or are just being interviewed to fill a quota of interviewees. I was the male candidate in such cases.

Needless to say, I never received any job offer, nor did I ever receive the courtesy of a response to why I was not hired. Needless to say, I have since then stopped looking for a full-time job in the publishing sector, which is now dominated by females, and I continue to freelance. Moreover, I have other interests and pursuits, many noble and good, though I feel a keen sense of loss. I am sure that I am not alone, having seen many persons, chiefly men, in my situation at job workshops, each with the hopeless look of the non-working. This is truly a sad sight.

This is not sour grapes, or gender envy, or anything of that sort. My story, however, is symbolic of something greater, and raises an important question: what will be the cost to western society when massive crowds of unemployed men are not using their abilities and talents? We are now witnessing a socio-economic situation never before witnessed in our history, where men cannot find employment despite employers saying they have unfilled jobs. It might explain the high levels of male suicide, the high levels of depression and the high levels of violent crime among men. All are highly undesirable social ills, many of which can be corrected by giving men the jobs and the resultant dignity they desire and need.

It's easy to say that society (and men) ought to change their standards, but the reality is that men and work are closely linked and harmonized to self-esteem, social status and self-fulfillment. Men and work go together like apple pie and ice cream. Non-working men are still looked at with suspicion, as if they were social pariahs. And, more to the point, working men are always less likely to drop out of society; they are too highly committed to its development and betterment. Work gives men purpose and meaning. Work makes men feel good about themselves, and about society in general.

Am I advocating returning to the 1950s? No, but I am advocating something that few politicians or governments in the West will discuss willingly and openly: the dirty little secret about affirmative action and equity programs; in short, about male discrimination in the workplace. A viable step would be to to get rid of special access for the female gender in all affirmative action programs in the West, since they are no longer necessary for women. Perhaps affirmative action in general ought to be retired.

Such government programs have evolved from equal access to special privilege and dispensations, which is what all such programs eventually end up doing. It is interesting to note that in both Canada and the U.S., Jews faced restrictive quotas in university admissions between the 1920s and 1940s, and in workplace hiring and advancement in some industries up to the 1960s. Despite such practices, Jews eventually found a way to overcome such obstacles, through hard work and perseverance, and as a group have done well.

Undoubtedly, there has been a shift in thinking in the last three of four decades, brought on to a large degree by a dissatisfaction with traditional values, and a decision to rely on social engineering. Some, notably hard-core militant or radical feminists, who are steeped in the theories of Karl Marx and are avowed Marxists, have influenced the debate and discussion in the West to a surprisingly large degree. Academia is greatly responsible for the shift in thinking, providing the intellectual talking points for government policy-makers. It must be added that only in academia are the discredited theories of Marx given legitimacy and the light of day. The result is that Marxist feminists, emboldened by such academic legitimacy and coupled with tales of victim-hood, are not above using inflammatory, vulgar and coarse language to make their point. This only proves that women can be as crass as men, if not more.

But then again, radical feminism, like all narrow-interest movements, is fueled by anger, hatred and the raw emotion of vengeance. It robs both men and women of their dignity, since its motivations are less than honourable. Given its Marxist bent, many of its values are anti-democratic; and its animus is often wrongly directed at the easy targets of Western civilization. Its purpose, it seems, is to dismantle hundreds of years of Enlightenment thinking, and for all its purported views on progress, it is in a great sense, anti-progressive or retrograde, not seeking equality but female superiority. Generally, movements that want to destroy rather than build eventually accomplish little that is good, although it might seem that way in the short-term. We can see the results after more than 40 years of so-called progress.

In short, feminism, notably the militant sort, is morally bankrupt, since its interests are narrow and it has to find an straw-man enemy: the Patriarchy (i.e., men) to mobilize support and keep it it going. Its purpose in the West has expired; and if it truly wants equality for women, there are many places in the world outside the West where it can demand change, notably in the many Arabic nations where woman hold a decided secondary status. Although I suspect its efforts will meet with tough if not lethal resistance from such societies, which have a long history of repression, not only against women but against any Western Enlightenment ideas and ideals.

The war between the sexes has lead to a scorched-earth policy, where too many things have become unnecessarily politicized. Most woman can and do get along with men. A small vocal minority can't, and they seem to now lead the debate, whose purpose it is is to make life uncomfortable, unpleasant and nasty for men. Truly, the current situation is nothing to be happy about. Not even for women.


  1. Affirmative action goes back to the early 1920s and was a way to keep Jews from becoming the overwhelming majority in Ivy League colleges. It was instituted for rightist reasons (Jews are ill-mannered and unsophisticated) and continues for leftist reasons (Jews are rich and powerful). Women are no longer underrepresented in many professions. They are underrepresented in physics. Does that mean physicists are particularly sexist? How did Marie Curie manage to win two Nobel prizes in the days when there was no affirmative action?
    Discrimination, whether for rightist or leftist reasons, is wrong.

  2. Prof Jochnowitz:
    Well said. Discrimination robs people of their dignity. As for Marie Curie, she won two Nobel prizes because she was a brilliant scientist.

  3. Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it ;) I'm going to revisit once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.
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    1. Thank you; I agree that both money and freedom are important, as is having a purpose in life, essentially to help you know what to do with both.


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