In search of non-toxic manhood

So every model has limits — but it’s folly to blame any or all of them for the pathologies they aspire to tame. (Stoicism, especially, doesn’t exactly seem oversupplied in America these days.) Yet that’s what contemporary progressivism is constantly inclined to do: Because the male archetypes were forged in more sexist eras, that sexism is regarded as a reason to reject the archetypes tout court, in the hopes of building some sort of New Progressive Man instead.

In overreaction to this rejection, conservatives in the Trump era have ended up defending a caddishness that would make Wickham blush, in the mistaken belief that they’re defending masculinity itself. But the New Progressive Man isn’t much of a success either: If you listen to liberal women complaining about the male-feminist cads and “soft-boys” in their dating pool, progressive culture seems to have ended up creating a lot of Uriah Heeps and Gilbert Osmonds — men pretending to reject the masculine vices, but really sublimating them into softer forms of exploitation.

The alternative, adapting the older archetypes to an era of greater equality between the sexes, is admittedly a difficult task.

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