On Albert Mohler.com I listen often once a week to 'The Briefing'. I agree with many of his Reformed Baptist views although where we tend to differ is where I do not culturally identify with the American Evangelical movement on some of the very conservative assumptions associated in American culture. I admittedly, arriving from Canadian culture with Canadian and British education and moderate conservative positions.
In order I would view myself as Christian, Reformed, Evangelical.
I also listen to his less frequent and longer program 'Thinking In Public'. The last two years there have been two interviews posted in regard to education and the male role in American society which would also have some relevance to Western society in general.
I have listened to both of them more than once.
Where Have The Men Gone A Conversation With Kay Hymowitz 2011/04/11
A Culture Increasingly Hostile To Men A Conversation With Psychologist Helen Smith 2013/09/16
Transcript from 2011/04/11
'Mohler: This is “Thinking in Public”, a program dedicated to intelligent conversation about front line theological and cultural issues with the people who are shaping them. I’m Albert Mohler, your host, and President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Something is happening when it comes to young men in America and for that matter around the world. It might be better stated as something is not happening. What is not happening is that boys are not moving into manhood at anything like what we might describe as on schedule. Instead we’ve entered a new very, very troubling period in American life in which the transition from boyhood to manhood is anything but clear and in many cases anything but happening. Kay Hymowitz is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute one of the nation’s most important think tanks. She’s also a contributing editor of City Journal. She writes extensively on issues including childhood, family issues, poverty, and cultural change in America. You may know her well through her books including Marriage and Cast in America, Liberation’s Children, and now her newest book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women is Turning Men into Boys. Kay Hymowitz really launched an assault upon the contemporary idea of manhood and of adulthood in an article published in Wall Street Journal on February 10, 2011 entitled Where Have the Good Men Gone? Kay Hymowitz welcome to Thinking in Public.'
'Mohler: Well, in this process it is boys and young men who are particularly having difficulty. For instance right now as you’ve indicated and by the way since you’ve written your book the statistics are only more exaggerated. The displacement of young men on American college campuses and it is that by the way. It’s not just that there are more women it is actually that there are fewer young men on many of these campuses. It is now to the point that many campuses are marking a 60/40 split between the women and the men with far more young women than young men. And when it comes to graduates even more so and in an…this just means that young men are getting further and further behind.
Hymowitz: That is exactly right. So this is a big concern you know if you have 57% or 60% of college graduates are women what happens even if it takes a much longer time to settle down most people still want to get married and have children where are these women supposed to find their husbands. You know they’re either going to marry men who are less educated than they are or they’re going to remain single. And I think the former is unlikely from what I’ve seen. There are some more marrying down as it might be called among women over the last decade but I’m not an awful lot of those marriage tend to be much more fragile.
Mohler: Yeah and as a matter of fact there is no precedent in human history for women marrying men with less economic ability, and less education, and less social status and that working.
Hymowitz: Yes, that’s exactly right I just wrote a piece on this very topic. It’s something that people don’t like to talk about because we like to pretend that marriage really is just about love, finding your soul mate, and class has nothing to do with it. But of course it does a great deal. People are more likely to be attracted to people to whom they share their values and a mindset.'
'Mohler: Yeah and actually those numbers are, they’re not a small uptake here. We’re talking about a major demographic wave that is coming at us especially when it comes to the fewer young women who are getting married and even to a greater degree the fewer babies coming from those unions. Mark Regnerus at University of Texas and others have been doing work and there’s another side to this and that is that feminists had thought that getting women into these positions of college and university and becoming graduates moving into work force that it would empower women. But Regnerus and his colleagues are showing that something very interesting happening in this and something very unexpected and that is that for instance if you go to an elite university and you go into the academic programs where the women outnumber men by a 60-40 or sometimes even greater percentage the men are the ones who end up with the power because what happens is that every one of those young women by and large is looking for a husband and the pool is now very small which means the power differential has gone to the young men. And if they’re not willing right now to get married, well it turns out that well, as Regnerus puts it, they’re able to have all the sex they want without any demand for marriage because they hold the power.
Hymowitz: I agree with Regnerus’ interpretation up to a point. What I think he leaves out is that it’s not all men who get the benefits of this new arrangement. Because women still are choosing, and they are choosy. And they tend to choose the more, for lack of a better term, we’ll call the alpha male, the more attractive, the more dominant, the more socially popular man on campus so that those men of course can have whatever they want and lots of women begging for their attention. It is actually not so true for what people call in the vernacular beta-male where the guys who are a little socially attuned who are maybe spending an awful lot of time in programming computers, and maybe don’t have a lot have of the moves that the big man on campus do. So I do think that it’s some ways even uglier than what Regnerus is implying because there are some guys who are losing out here.
Mohler: Well indeed and some of them are the ones who are counted on the success side by the educators and the employers but from a perspective of the life script or their development into assuming the full responsibility of adulthood, it’s not going well...'
With a 60/40 between educated college and University educated males and females in the USA, this trend is likely to be similar in other Western nations. Hymowitz states 'You know they’re either going to marry men who are less educated than they are or they’re going to remain single. And I think the former is unlikely from what I’ve seen. There are some more marrying down as it might be called among women over the last decade but I’m not an awful lot of those marriage tend to be much more fragile.'
Rejecting secular and non-Biblical relationship models, a further difficulty would be for Christians because of fewer numbers within the cultural group. From my perspective it would appear that if what Hymowitz is stating from her educated researched secular perspective and Mohler is stating in agreement from a Christian one is true, then there would need for differing philosophical and practical approaches within worldview in regard to potential marriage for educated Christian women in light of the times.
In regard to men, the so called 'beta-males' in a Christian context need to learn to develop skills and to become more social. If there is more educated Christian women available in the United States and in the Western World, than at least there is opportunity.
I know from research in the area listening to secular relationship coaches that the 'classic software engineer', this is the stereotypical software engineer, not all in the field, is often considered to have the worst social skills.
This is the type of 'beta-male' Hymowitz is mentioning I reason; not men that have reasonable social skills but perhaps have not met someone relatable.
Transcript from 2013/09/16
'Mohler: This is Thinking in Public, a program dedicated to intelligent conversation about frontline theological and cultural issues with the people who are shaping them. I’m Albert Mohler, your host and President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Helen Smith is a forensic psychologist, a well-known writer who has written for a variety of publications including the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and Master’s Degrees from the New School for Social Research and The City University of New York. She’s a widely quoted commentator, a frequent spokesperson in the media, and she’s also a very active blogger. She’s also the author of a very important new book entitled Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters. Dr. Helen Smith, welcome to Thinking in Public.
Mohler: We’re going to talk about the three strikes that you say men have declared: a strike on marriage, a strike on education, especially higher education, and a strike on work in the larger engagement with society. But I find the most revolutionary part of your argument, the part that you just mentioned, moral ethicists, philosophers, sociologists, looking at why people behave the way they do deploys several theories. One of them is called as you would well know Rational Choice Theory. You’re the first person I know to apply Rational Choice Theory to this equation, and I think it’s very important. In other words you’re arguing that men in showing these different and new patterns of behavior are actually making what is in their own minds a rational choice.
Smith: Well, that’s just human behavior. But I think as a society we have to realize that the more of the behavior we reward – you get more of the behavior you reward and less of the behaviors that you punish. And we’re rewarding men being marriage material or providers or anything we’re rewarding that less and less and punishing it more. When you think about even marriage like fifty years ago man was sort of the head of the household or looked up to and treated with respect. And now married men are seen as less of a man by society, by the media, and in event even if he has kids instead of being Ward Cleaver he’s seen more as kind of an idiot, especially in the media and that sort of thing. I agree that I don’t know why we don’t think that men have rational choice and that somehow even other men tell men just to “man up” and go ahead and keep doing the things that society expects of them. But this question becomes: why should they? Why should they be involved in a system that’s so stacked against them? It doesn’t make any sense. We wouldn’t say that if it was about women. If women were getting a raw deal somehow we’d say, “Oh, well of course they’re not going to do that.” But with men we’re just like, “Well, you better man up and do whatever society expects of you even if you are getting as much out of the deal.”
Mohler: Well, to show how this works let’s go to that first issue you address which is the marriage strike. You quote Glenn Sacks and Diana Thompson who have written that American men are now subconsciously launching what they call a marriage strike.
Smith: Yes, and they say that it is mainly for reasons of family ___ because of the divorce issues. But actually I think it’s even more than that. I wrote a blog post over at the Huffington Post and it’s called “8 Reasons Straight Men Don’t Want To Get Married” and some of the things I looked at is that men, basically the summary of what I found just from talking to men and from getting men on my blog and from just the thousands of men I’ve talked to over the years in therapy that some of the things they say about getting married is: Number one reason they don’t’ want to get married is they’ll lose respect. They just feel like they don’t have the kind of respect, and I think going back to the culture I think we treat men in a way that says that they’re not important and that trickles down to the greater community. One of the things that James Macnamara, he is a communications professor in Sydney, Australia, and he did research and he found that 69% of mass media reporting and commentary on men was unfavorable. And that’s compared with 12% favorable and 19% neutral. And I think when you think about that, when you’re looking at it and saying almost 70% of the time when men are portrayed in the media they’re portrayed as a predator, a goofball, a deadbeat, and that just sends a very negative message about how men are to be treated. So I think this loss of respect is a big aspect of why men feel that they don’t want to be involved in marriage as often.'
'Mohler: And of course that’s kind of the back side of the equation here. And as many younger men, especially in a secular frame of mind, are looking at what you describe as a cost/benefit analysis I can see as your book makes very clear that for many of them the cost seem higher than the benefits in their analysis of not only marriage but of growing up. But of course marriage as important as that is, and we’ll get back to that in a moment, is only one of the issues you address in your book. And now to others we want to turn as well including the strike on education. You’re talking about the fact that men are striking from college.
Smith: Well, it’s almost like they just never make it there. I have a chapter in the book called “The College Strike.” And maybe that’s almost beyond what’s happening. Because what’s happening is men are just not making it into college. Right now it’s about 57% women, 43% men, and that’s growing where they think in the next ten years it could be as many as 60% women going to college. One of the reasons for that is younger men in the elementary school grades often having failing grades, they often don’t do well, a lot of boys can’t read or don’t do well in those areas. And they’re disconnected from schools because schools in some sense over the last forty to fifty years have become places that are much more suitable for girls than they are for boys. And we worry so much about what girls need and how we make that happen. Like if we see that girls are lagging behind in science we immediately say okay we have to do something; we have to find books that girls like to read; we have to find a way to teach girls that will make them want to go into science or make them want to understand math better.'
In regard to Rational Choice Theory, Blackburn defines rationality as pieces of behaviour, beliefs arguments, policies and other exercises of the human mind that are described as rational. Rational meaning making sense or is in accordance with for example, aiming at truth or at what is good. Blackburn (1996: 319).
'Smith: Well, that’s just human behavior. But I think as a society we have to realize that the more of the behavior we reward – you get more of the behavior you reward and less of the behaviors that you punish. And we’re rewarding men being marriage material or providers or anything we’re rewarding that less and less and punishing it more.'
That is a secular way of looking a marriage which I personally reject.
That is not state that I reason there is no truth to the Rational Choice Theory. Within Christ there would still need to be spiritual, intellectual and romantic mutual attraction with someone or else the rational choice as a theologian and philosopher is to remain single.
Obviously, I would not favour any kind of strike or boycotting on education, or as I may coin the phrase 'a vacation on education'. I think dropping out of society is an intellectual cop-out and that is what Dr. Smith states that many men in the United States are presently doing and I would not agree with it.
From a Christian perspective, difficult times require prayer, Biblical, theological and related study, meaningful fellowship with encouragement and critique. Innovation, flexibility and adaptability are needed even when cultural trends in society, secular and/or Christian can be difficult. Biblically, if single, especially if struggling with the 'burn' one is to seek marriage unless one is content (1 Corinthians 7). Improving oneself for employment and for use by God would be required. How could one, for example. obey the Great Commission of Matthew 28 by not being able to rightly and properly teach (v.20)? This would be an example of education, formal or not.
BLACKBURN, SIMON (1996) Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.