Camille Paglia is neither a conservative nor a libertarian. If you asked her about her religious views, I believe she would tell you that she is a pagan. I’m not sure that is the most truthful way to answer the question. As far as I can tell she is a Darwinian atheist, albeit an honest and observant one. Her sexual ethics is certainly far from Christian teaching.
In her recent Time Magazine piece, she pretty much shatters the anti-men attitudes of “second- and third-wave feminism”
Is it any wonder that so many high-achieving young women, despite all the happy talk about their academic success, find themselves in the early stages of their careers in chronic uncertainty or anxiety about their prospects for an emotionally fulfilled private life? When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women. [emphasis original]
While there is much of value in her editorial (and some material to take issue with) I was struck by her casual admission that we are headed for an end of civilization.
After the next inevitable apocalypse, men will be desperately needed again! Oh, sure, there will be the odd gun-toting Amazonian survivalist gal, who can rustle game out of the bush and feed her flock, but most women and children will be expecting men to scrounge for food and water and to defend the home turf. Indeed, men are absolutely indispensable right now, invisible as it is to most feminists, who seem blind to the infrastructure that makes their own work lives possible. It is overwhelmingly men who do the dirty, dangerous work of building roads, pouring concrete, laying bricks, tarring roofs, hanging electric wires, excavating natural gas and sewage lines, cutting and clearing trees, and bulldozing the landscape for housing developments. It is men who heft and weld the giant steel beams that frame our office buildings, and it is men who do the hair-raising work of insetting and sealing the finely tempered plate-glass windows of skyscrapers 50 stories tall.
Paglia contrasts the work that is done (almost) exclusively by men with the “managerial” world that feminists care about and in which women can succeed. While Paglia thinks of the threat to civilization as a generic fatal cycle—the bare fact that all civilizations fall. I suspect that, in this cycle, the machinations of the central banks of the world are the reason we are headed towards disaster. The same bubbles that spur inordinate growth in “service sector” jobs create unbalanced and unsustainable economies that inevitably collapse.
I like Paglia’s affirmation of men but I’m not as confident about their role in saving human life as she is. Testosterone doesn’t automatically give a person the knowledge or experience to successfully “scrounge for food and water and to defend the home turf.” That takes learning and training. Right now, the collapse of the economy is turning young men into impotent basement dwellers.
Rather than simply look forward to a time when men are valued, it might be a good idea to make sure our sons are trained to lead in that world.