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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Utahn #3: Family, Masculinty and Politics

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. -Joyce Brothers
Family and Masculinity

Family is the most important thing in this life next to air and food. It may be blood relation, adoptive parents or emotional attachment to a group of people, but there is nothing more important to the sustainability of the human heart than a family. The stability of the home reaches in to the mind of all involved and from there builds the social workings and attachments of our great society.

Masculinity in today's world is hard to pin down. The acceptance of alternative lifestyles has led to a mix of gender roles (the benefits of such mixing are up to the individual). In my own personal history, my break from that mixed, slightly feminized mold came when I realized the role I would have to play in the lives of my future children. I am going to have to be a father to my children, especially to any sons and to be a strong father one has to be a man mentally, in my opinion. Biologically and culturally, men have a specific role in child rearing and having a redundant mother-figure instead of a solid father figure leads to a shift in not only the upbringing of the individual child, but in a culture as a whole. One wonders what affect easy divorce has had on the way our culture operates today.

Masculinity and Politics

Realizing the responsibility and the purpose of a father and of a man, it wasn't long before my political views were affected by this new philosophy. Embarrassingly, I have to admit the film 300 was a catalyst for the thoughts on masculinity that had been building up. At the time I was a near-anarchistic libertarian that was anti-war and slightly anti-American. I was starting to smarten up on a lot of things, but for all intents and purposes I was still a idealistic leftist. After seeing 300 I started to wonder if my focus on how to make everything equal and how to make everyone exactly the same was a tad naive. I bought a book called The Spartans, which detailed Spartan history, culture and traditions. I became enthralled (maybe slightly obsessed) with Spartans, but I suddenly understood the allure of patriotism and nationalism. And I suddenly understood the why I felt the urge to join the military, felt the urge to work out, to be physical more than on my ass doing nothing. It may sound silly, but that's how it was. It took a movie and a long dead culture to turn me on to the role of a man and to tap in to its natural wants that were caged inside of me for years.

Patriotism took hold within months of my realization and, unlike what some on the left would say, it wasn't based on arrogance or pride nor was it a cover for fear. It was born out of a love. Love for a country I hadn't really understood until I drove across it and settled in it. Love of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (I bought a pocket version soon after moving to Los Angeles). Love of a people who held similar values and who I had a common bond with. With that love came a re-definition of events and people I used to detest. Reading more on the Iraq War turned my opinion from a war of imperialism to a mistake-riddled, but noble cause that deserves our support instead of our scorn. Re-valuating President Bush from a fascistic moron to a man who is trying and is facing huge disasters out of his control, but floundering in his attempt to mix conservatism and populism. It takes a man to admit mistakes, and I admit I made so many the Grand Canyon couldn't hold them. My entire worldview was in error and I sought to correct it. For the most part my beliefs now are no longer just part of teenage angst (socialism), or a rebellion against the world and everything in it (anarchism), but set in principles that are thousands of years old mixed in with some recent revelations in political theory. It's not simply what you feel is right, emotional politics is easily corrupted, its what you know is right by the evidence of history.

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