Category: In Pursuit of Virtue

The War On Boys

The video above is our breakdown of the Jordan Peterson interview on Tucker Carlson’s show (Buy Peterson’s excellent book here). They’re talking about the Florida shooting, but it’s really about the state of boys today.

One important point is nihilism.
This is the belief that life is meaningless. It’s hopelessness and despair. Life is hard. There’s a lot of evil. A lot of bad things happening. So it’s easy to see how one could fall into nihilism and cynicism. If life is bad, then it’s better to just conclude that there is nothing of value anyway.

You know kids who are isolated in school from their peers and from society they can spiral deeper and deeper into despair and hopelessness and then end up with nihilistic views that nothing matters! Life doesn’t matter! My life doesn’t matter and no one else’s does.
So how do we eliminate this? Give kids purpose. Create a culture that encourages unity and a sense of purpose and meaning to life and to our existence. This traditionally was done with God.

I came across a Marine Corps Field Manual. I originally thought it was a WWII Era, but it’s not, it’s the modern one. There’s a section at the end about the will to survive. What do you do if you’re stuck and cornered and in a seemingly hopeless situation and you think you’re going to die?

Remember your PURPOSE:

I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

A Marine stuck and hopeless, easy to become nihilistic right? Nothing matters anymore. This field manual tells you to remember what matters. It reminds you that something DOES matter. Remember who you are and why you do it.

The rest of it’s all about God, “pray for your God’s help, strength, wisdom, and rescue. Talk to your God. Give thanks that God is with you. Ask for God’s help. Pray for protection and a positive outcome. Remember scripture verses, hymns, repeat them to yourself and to God. Praise God. Give thanks because God is bigger than your circumstances. God will see you through no matter what circumstances. The field manual says that hope comes from the belief in heaven. It advises Marines to appoint a religious leader amongst themselves, discuss what’s important in your life, share scriptures and songs. Pray for each other. Do you understand? It says to have worship services with each other, write down scriptures and songs that you remember, encourage each other, while waiting to be rescued. Remember that your God loves you.

Talk to your God.
(2) Give thanks that God is with you.
(3) Ask for God’s help.
(4) Pray for protection and a positive outcome. Remember scripture, verses, or hymns; repeat them to yourself and to your God.
Praise God and give thanks because—
(1) God is bigger than your circumstances.
(2) God will see you through (no matter what happens).
(3) Hope comes from a belief in heaven and/or an after-life.
(1) Identify or appoint a religious lay leader.
(2) Discuss what is important to you.
(3) Share scriptures and songs.
(4) Pray for each other.
(5) Try to have worship services.
(6) Write down scriptures and songs that you remember.
(7) Encourage each other while waiting for rescue, remember—
(a) Your God loves you.
(b) Praise your God.

This is the back of the modern day Marine Corps Field Manual.

This is what our society used to unite behind and is there any wonder if you remove God from our culture, that people are more cynical and nihilistic than ever before? Bad things happen because of it.

There’s a great book, Raising a Modern Day Knight. It’s about raising boys in men and how boys need a vision for manhood, they need a code of conduct, they need a transcendent cause.
Without these three things, boys drift. Again, we’re talking about this because there was a deadly school shooter, but this is a massive problem for most every boy in every school across the entire country. They’re’ not going to be school shooters, but there is a lot of other destructive behavior that’s going on because these are boys’ drifting without purpose.

As Peterson said, “responsibility is what gives life meaning.” This is why having kids is so much fun, and I don’t mean to say that having a kid is the only way that your life can have meaning or responsibility, but the best part of having kids is that it takes you from being the center of your existence to something else being the center of your existence. This is good for you. It’s good for your soul.

It’s bad to be selfish and live selfishly. It’s bad to be selfish and live selfishly. It’s good to be responsible for someone else, something else. It gives you meaning in this world.
It is a joy to metaphorically and sometimes literally eat last in your home. Wife eats first, your kids’ eat second, you’re last, because you’re responsible for other people. And that’s awesome!

The great Simon Sinek has a TED talk called Leaders Eat Last, and the idea is that if you’re a leader, you get a lot of perks and benefits, but then when times are tough, the deal is you eat last.
And there’s great joy in eating last, if it means your family lives and thrives.

This is a great post from J Ishiro Finny,

To quote Fight Club, “We’re a generation of men raised by women.” And the women who raised my generation had a saying: All men are pigs. But there’s another saying those same women were enamored with and that is: The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

So here we are, coming close to fifty years of single mothers raising their boys as if they were animals. Two generations of young men raised to believe they’re broken, immoral, and dangerous. That their natural state, if left unchecked and unmedicated, is a sexual ticking time bomb of rape and abuse. Half a century of academia peddling a grim version of history that holds your gender personally responsible for all the wrongs ever to have happened in the world. And a press, that at this very moment, is blaming YOU for every school shooting to have ever occurred.

After all this, how could there not be a crisis of masculinity?

So to the boys and young men of America, believe me when I say it isn’t you who should be apologizing for the state of our world today. This mess was set in motion long before you were born.

You are not bad.

You are not broken.

You are not inherently evil or a sexual abuser in waiting.

You are boys who were robbed of your right to be men.

All your life you’ve been told to act, think, and behave like women. To suppress your passions, your pride, your need to compete and drive to achieve.

Now society is crumbling around us.

Feminizing boys didn’t make better men. It’s resulted in broken homes and shattered families and record suicide rates. It’s destroying any notion of a healthy partnership between men and women, and is pushing us ever closer to total collapse of gender relations.

Boys, we don’t need you to be like women, the world has plenty of women, already.

What the world needs now more than ever is for you to be men…

Men have always been innovators, explores, defenders, and leaders.
But most importantly, men have always been fathers.
So to the boys and young men of America, please read this and take every word to heart.
The world needs you.


It’s The Dads

Why are there more school shootings now than ever before?

We’ve talked about many reasons. I think one of the biggest reasons: Dads. Or lack of dads.

When Moynihan wrote “The Negro Family: A Case for National Action” in 1965, 25% of black kids were born without a dad. And it was a call to action! Today 72%. How sad is that!

Of all races, 72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. 60% of all rapists. 70% of juveniles in state institutions grew up in single- or no-parent situations. And these are kids with NO dads. There are also many dads who may be “present” but are absent or violent or alcoholic or whatever.

POVERTY is not a predicte of crime. It’s lack of dads

Let me say here, if you’re a single mom, this does not mean that your kid is destind to be awful or a murderer or a delinquint or a dropout or a terible person, goodnss NO!

But it means you have to intentional.

Intentional about finding male role models in your kids life. And being aware of wounds that will exist from not having a present dad. But I want to stress it’s not a guarantee by any means that your kids will be ruined or worhtless to society! I mean this as awareness and a call to be inteientonal about finding positive male role models, which can come fom a million diffent direction. I had a dad. And I had many male role models that each added something to my life.
Bruce Filer was dying of cancer and he organized a “Council of Dads”; a group of men who each brought something to the table to mentor his kids. HE ended up not dying, but the Council of Dads remain. My kids have a Council of Dads. Everyone should.

Anyway, we focus on guns and depression and isolation and dropping out of school and all the rest, but what comes LONG before that? The home. A broken home. A chaotic home. An unstable home. An unloving home.

This is Dr. Farrell, author fo The Boy Crisis:

Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.

We’v talked before about the Ancient Greek Polis. There’s no good translation in our language. We call it a city-state, but it’s so much more than that. Victor Davis Hanson:

The Greeks thought of the Polis as an active, formative thing, training the minds and characters of it’s citizens…The training of virtue, which the medieval state left to the church, and the Polis made it’s own concern, the modern state leaves to God knows what.

Maybe you’ve heard the line from Aristotle, “Man is a political animal.” That’s very poorly translated. The real line is, “Man is a creature who lives in a Polis.” Meaning, the Polis, the community, his family and culture is the only framework that man can fully realize his spiritual, moral and intellectual potential. Not in isolation.

And the root of that is the home.

James Wilson, one of our Founding Fathers, he wrote a pamphlet in 1790, “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals” and it’s all about marriage and the history of marriage in ancient times. In the middle of it he not only quoted Cicero, but he quotes it in Latin. He didn’t’ translate it because everyone reading it knew what he was talking about, “Prima societas in ipso conjugio est” Translation: The first bond of society is marriage, the next, our children, then the whole family and all things in common.”

So, marriage, family, community.

Break down on the first point – marriage – and society won’t survive.

An anthropologist in 1934 studied 86 civilizations and concluded, “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on nuptial continence”

Strong marriage.

Marriage is hard. It’s a lot of work. But there’s nothing more important.

My wife is 38 weeks pregnant. We been asking people advice on how to raise a girl. The number one piece of advice: Spend Time. Just be there. Be present.
I would argue that this is the least talked about/most important issue in our country. It’s the root of so many other issues. Dads.

How To Stop School Shootings

After a school shooting, a lot of people say “we need to do something!”

Honestly, it’s said by people who don’t actually want to do something. I mean, THEY don’t want to do something. They want someone else to do something.

They passively want “something to be done.”

I’ll tell you how to stop school shootings, but you won’t like the answer.

You’ll dismiss it because it’s not as simple as wanting Congress to do something.

First, why are the shootings happening now more than ever before?

It’s not guns. There have always been guns. School used to have rifle teams. Kids would bring their rifles to school because there was a competition in the school’s gun range. What’s new is having kids who want to point a gun at people and kill them. That is what needs to be addressed.

And honestly, even if you think magically banning all guns is a solution, you’re still not getting to the root of why kids would even want to do this. As Henry David Thoreau said, “There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil for every one who strikes the root.” So let’s strike the root.

Three things to know about school shootings:

1) Schools shootings are contagious.
2) Everyone has a desire to belong to something bigger than themselves.
3) These shooters consider themselves not as individual shooters, but a part of one single mass shooting called Columbine.

On the first point, it’s easy for us to think of the flu as being contagious, but not school shootings. Suicides are contagious, too. When Robin Williams committed suicide, there was a 10% increase in the number of suicides over the next four months. This is why local newspapers don’t print articles about people committing suicide; it’s accepted that if you glorify suicide in any way, more people commit suicide.

It’s the same with school shootings. The more coverage we give to the shooters and read their manifestos and play their videos on the news and show their Instagram accounts, the more people we’re encouraged to go do this. They want the fame. They want to be seen. They want to be noticed.

Second, a major cause of these shootings is loneliness and isolation. I was talking to a friend who runs a youth mentoring program, Boys to Men Mentoring, and I asked what it means to be an “At-Risk” kid. And he said, “Slater, we’re all at-risk. The question is are there people, mentors, parents, friends, neighbors in the kid’s life to help them through life’s challenges. Are there other voices in this kids life other than just the one in his head? Because if he’s living with just one voice in his head all day every day, they will spiral and become more isolated and distant.”

The more these shooters are rejected from society, the more they hate themselves and the more they grow to hate everyone else. And they isolate themselves and spiral deeper and deeper.

None of these school shooters are the popular kids in school.

I’ll tell you right now how to stop school shootings. Rob Myers puts it best, “Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”

But we don’t like that answer because it involves me doing something. It’s way easier to want Congress to do something.

But what causes these isolated kids to spiral to such a depth that they’re willing to kill people?

Malcolm Gladwell has the best analysis of this, he says we look at the 25 fatal school shootings since Columbine as separate, individual events. The shooters don’t. They consider themselves all part of the same school shooting. It’s all one school shooting. It’s a slow-moving riot. And they want in the Columbine cult. And Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are their heroes. And that shooting is their initiation. Because they want to belong to something.

I could give many examples, Darion Aguilar he was 19 in 2014, he dressed up like Eric Harris, used the same weapon as Eric Harris, wore the same backpack as Eric Harris, hid in the changing room of a store until 11:14 (the exact time the Columbine shooting began) and then came out shooting. He killed two and then himself.

The shooter at Seattle Pacific shot three people, killed one. He told police he never would have done it without, “the guidance of, of Eric Harris and Seung-Hui Cho (the Virginia Tech shooter) … Especially, Eric Harris he was a, oh, man he was a master of all shooters.”

There was a potential school shooter in Minnesota, he was asked “when should he attack? April made the best sense, “because that’s the month that all the really bad tragedies happened like . . . Titanic, Columbine, Oklahoma City bombing, Boston bombing.”

It’s become ritualized, it’s cultish. And now their names – if they’re brave enough to follow through and kill – will live in infamy.

So, how do we stop school shootings? Short term, every school should train how to confront and take down a school shooter. If every potential shooter knew that their fellow classmates and teachers would fight back, they wouldn’t attack at all. Because they don’t want a fight. They’re cowards. Go to if you want to know how to properly engage a school shooter.

But long-term, we need to engage with lonely and isolated people.

Not the answer you want, right? Because this involves work, it involves rolling up your sleeves and getting involved in someone’s life and it’s hard and selfless, and we would rather live selfish lives and every once in awhile complain about societal problems than actually do anything to fix or prevent them.

There are two types of people: Those who say “someone should do something” and then pat themselves on the back for thinking something should be done. And then those who are out there actually doing something. They’re too busy saving lives to pat themselves on the back.

If you want to prevent school shootings and prevent any other destructive behavior in kids lives, support Boys to Men Mentoring in San Diego. I’m sure there are similar boys mentoring programs in your city. Give them money, so they can help more boys get off of the wrong path, and give these “at-risk” boys some light, some relationships, a hope for a future of meaning, and train these boys to become MEN.