The leftists won a key battle: the fight to make the personal political. Thanks to the creepy fascism inherent in their nature, they examine everything under a microscope and divide it into categories like “Problematic” and “Microaggressions.” That’s especially true of how we choose to live our lives as adult men. My friends Cam Edwards and Jim Geraghty deny that their new book Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Start a Family, and Other Manly Advice is a political book. I beg to differ with that one point, if not any of their others. By choosing to live our lives as something other than a freak show of social pathologies, we men are making a political statement by rebelling against the cultural elite.
Full disclosure – these guys are my pals. Jim is the senior political correspondent at National Review Online and his Morning Jolt newsletter starts off my weekday mornings when he’s not taking one of his countless vacations. Cam is the host of Cam and Company on NRA News and a gentleman farmer in rural Virginia, where he introduced my family to livestock. If you come to CPAC, perhaps you can catch a repeat of our legendary karaoke cover of Gleaming Spires’ Are You Ready For the Sex Girls.
They have cool jobs and are all over the media, but in essence they’re just regular guys. They’re happily married, love their kids, enjoy the occasional brewed beverage, and are fiercely patriotic. This makes them the enemy of a significant portion of the United States population that resides within ten miles of the coasts.
Heavy Lifting focuses on the tough but rewarding path of male maturity. It’s full of amusing stories and solid advice, with the overarching message being that growing up and having a family isn’t the soul-crushing living death our culture often makes it out to be. This path challenging, but ultimately more rewarding than squandering your life in the basement on your mom’s old couch, surrounded by stale Doritos shards, playing video games and reveling in your freedom from responsibilities, obligations, and the touch of women.
Jim and Cam want this to be a book that inspires change, and it’s clear they have taken to heart Andrew Breitbart’s oft-cited observation that politics is downstream from culture. With Heavy Lifting, they aren’t trying save America by winning the next election but by winning over the next generation to the idea that adulthood, specifically male adulthood, is not something from which you should flee in terror.
The first of the book’s million microaggressions is its embrace of the notion that males are a unique kind of person and not just females who stand in the bathroom. This is a book about fatherhood. It’s not some sort of Mr. Mom book; men are not women, and fathers are not mothers. They do different things, in different ways, and for different reasons. This idea that the sexes are not identical will send the gender jerks into spasms – men and women are supposed to be exactly the same, excepting only men’s inherent, irredeemable evil based upon their original sin of phallocentricity.
And, as if to infuriate the cultural gestapo even more, Jim and Cam constantly ask “What Would Ward Cleaver Do?” Using the forthright, capable, and spectacularly mature father of the Beaver as a touchstone is waiving a red state cape in front of a blue state bull. Our culture has been telling us for half a century how the Ward Cleavers of the world are a punchline, that they’re dull and unforgivably uncool. But look around at what repudiating Ward has wrought upon our society – can anyone seriously make the argument that America would not be massively better off with more males channeling him by supporting their own families and raising their own kids without leaving it to Uncle Sam and Team Taxpayer to clean up the wreckage of their refusal to grow up and act like men?
By the way, the book points out that Ward Cleaver was a Navy SeaBee in World War II. Back then, pretty much every man did a hitch in the service, and that certainly had a huge maturing effect on the entire generation. I recall more maturity in the 18 year-olds I deployed with to Desert Storm 25 years ago this week than in many of the middle-aged attorneys I deal with today.
Heavy Lifting advocates normalcy – a regular, self-supporting family with dad, mom, kids, and animals. It doesn’t disrespect what we used to call “broken families” but now call “nontraditional families” so we don’t have to admit their brokenness. It simply says that normal families are optimal, and that men have a unique role to play in them. And this truth, today, is itself political.
Normal Americans, those who live that lifestyle or aspire to it (many broken families realize that their situation is not optimal and do the best they can to replicate the traditional model), are a powerful but quiet presence in American political life. Richard Nixon called them “the Silent Majority.” Bill Clinton meant them when he talked about people who “worked hard and played by the rules.” They fight the wars, pay the taxes, and they vote. They built this. And that is why the left must must suppress the normals – the elites need them to do society’s work, but they can’t afford to let them be aroused at election time. So we see the media and Hollywood portraying us normals as dull, dreary drones who need guidance and inspiration from our betters in the liberal elites.
That’s why being a man – not merely bearing the physical accoutrements of maleness but actually being a man – is a rebel act. By being man, you reject the role the liberal elite has prepared for you, that of a weak, confused manchild unfit to be sovereign over your own destiny. Taking care of your family yourself repudiates them. Defending your family (especially when you exercise your fundamental Second Amendment rights) repudiates them. Raising your children as strong, independent Americans instead of spoiled, crybullying snowflakes, repudiates them. Just being normal repudiates them.
Maybe Ward Cleaver wouldn’t put it this way, but I will: By choosing to grow up and be a man, you tell the liberal elite to go to hell.