Justin Cascio, one of the editors at the Good Men Project, interviewed me after reading and introducing The Way of Men. I took some time with the answers and overall I think it’s a fair and thought-provoking interview. This was the final portion of the 3-part presentation of my work on that site.
Here’s a short excerpt:
You say that a man who is more concerned with being a good man than with being good at being a man makes a better slave than a citizen. Do you think we should be more like gang members, instead: good at being men, but not so good at being good?
Being good at being a man is a tactical orientation. If you completely outsource tactical thinking to someone else, your life is in their hands. You give them the capability to become your master. This is the bargain of modern democratic thinking. All you can do is hope that your masters choose to use their authority—which is always backed by the threat of violence wielded by the “guardians” you entrusted with the axe—benevolently. You cast your vote and hope someone listens. That makes voting sound a lot like praying, doesn’t it?
If you give up being good at being a man, and concentrate only on being thoughtful or spiritual or well-behaved, you are like a slave or a child whose fate is entirely in someone else’s hands. I don’t think feeling powerless like that makes men happy. It’s freeing, in a way, to allow yourself to be flotsam adrift, but it’s also lazy and unsatisfying. What’s the point of doing anything? Being safe and comfortable and powerless isn’t worth the self-determination, sense of identity and the sense of importance to the immediate group that men have given away.