The nation rightly worries about the fiscal crisis and its ramifications for domestic economic stability. We also worry about the Obama Administration’s fumbling role in international affairs and what this portends for the future of U.S. foreign relationships and America’s position and respect around the world. Though less obvious, but nonetheless significant, is a sleeper issue: we haven’t come to terms with the crisis of modern male immaturity. Here is another instance of an oft-neglected axiom: what seems in the moment to be urgent is often not important, and what is important frequently does not seem urgent.
Researchers have produced extensive documentation, and writers like historian Gary Cross (“Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity”), have explored the “sea change that has taken place in the conception of manhood over the past three-quarters of a century.” Other authors — Guy Garcia and Michael Kimmel, to name two — look at the “decline of man” and the “perilous world” of the American male. Kathleen Parker published a plea for America to Save the Males: Why Men Matter and Why Women Should Care; Kay Hymowitz’s, Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, was just released.
While I have been thinking about this issue since my days as a college professor and university academic dean, I began writing about it back in 2005 with the publication of “Today’s New Girly Men” in WorldNetDaily. More recently, I wrote “The Crisis of the Disappearing Educated Male,” in American Thinker. Further, my book, Children at Risk: The Precarious State of Children’s Well-Being in America, details all the ways that children (and women) are harmed when, as is so often the case today, many men are more willing to impregnate a woman than to be a present and involved husband and father.
Clearly, awareness is building that, as Kay Hymowitz said, “Today’s pre-adults have been wait-listed for adulthood.” Hymowitz believes that we are in the middle of a “momentous sociological development.” The crisis of the American male is a “major demographic event” where, as Erick Erikson explained, young men between childhood and adulthood experience unprecedented “role confusion, emotional turmoil and identity conflict.”
For those just becoming aware of this emerging crisis, here are what I believe are the three major cultural trends that stunt young men’s maturity.