From the Editor—Friday Reflections

Cold Killers & Hot Topics

Talking About Manhood Will Get You Trashed

May 18, 2018

Read the Headlines:

10 killed in shooting at Texas' Santa Fe High School, official says
[CNN 2:09 PM ET, Fri May 18, 2018]

11 shot over 10 hours in Chicago, three of them fatally
[May 18, Chicago Tribune]

Rifle Used In Dixon School Shooting Bought By Teen's Mom: ISP The 9mm semi-automatic rifle the 19-year-old brought to his former high school's graduation rehearsal was purchased by his mother in 2012.
[Across Illinois Patch, May 17]

Nearly 40 shot over three days in Chicago, including young mother, 4-year-old girl, teen on CTA bus
[May 3, Chicago Tribune]

Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy: He says there's a crisis in masculinity. Why won't women—all these wives and witches—just behave?
[May 18, New York Times]

Jordan Peterson has much to say about the first three headlines. He has become something of a celebrity, talking a lot of sense about boys becoming men and about manhood and taking responsibility. He is the target of this New York Times hit piece. Peterson is not any sort of orthodox Christian, and is fond of citing evolutionary and Jungian explanations, along with biblical and mythological elements. He is not charismatic, a clinical psychologist, who obviously has tapped into a crying need in our society but is loathed by the liberal elite who preside over the sexual and familial meltdown of the West.

Going back to those three headlines, just three months ago, I wrote about homicidal young men:

I would be surprised if fatherlessness were not the number one predictor of criminality. I recall a veteran Texas prison chaplain who said he often asked prisoners if they were raised by their biological fathers. The vast majority-well over 90 percent—were not.

This is one reason why patriarchy is important for the health of a society. Read that carefully. I did not say male chauvinism or male dominance or male privilege or misogyny, which some assume is meant by the "code word" patriarchy.

Patriarchy is based on the word pater, father, and I am particularly thinking of fatherhood: young men are formed not by a flood of male hormones or dangerous masculine bravado or the oppression or sexual use of women, but by the prospect of fatherhood. Patriarchy is about fatherhood. It is where fathers raise boys and young men to become fathers. A whole generation, or neighborhood, of boys without fathers will succumb to the chaos of Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies. Victims hope policemen will protect them.

Someone suggested that Peterson would be an interesting speaker for our 2018 conference on Patriarchy: Fatherhood & the Restoration of Culture. I bet he would be provocative and draw a crowd. His talks are selling out wherever he goes.

Besides being hard to get these days (I assume) and perhaps charging a lot (being in demand), Peterson is not the sort of speaker we'd generally invite. Our speakers bring guidance from the Christian revelation and tradition to inform, inspire, and encourage Christ's disciples in the modern world. If we can't find speakers who are rooted in the Christian faith and nourished by it to address timely issues, then we're in trouble. Fortunately, there are many.

I am currently finalizing our conference program, including titles for the talks. Here are two of the latest talks and titles we have settled on:

• Allan Carlson on "Is Patriarchy Inevitable? Lessons Religious & Secular"

• Tony Esolen on "The Boy Genius: Finding Him Again through Fatherhood"

Previously announced talks:

• Rachel Fulton Brown on "Praying the 'Our Father': How Prayer Shapes Reality & What It Means for Fatherhood"

• Nancy Pearcey on "Is There a Father in the House? The Rise and Decline of Manhood in America"

When we finalize all 14 talk titles, I will post additional updates on the rest of our great lineup of speakers, who include:

• J. Budziszewski • Steven Faulkner • Robert P. George
• S. M. Hutchens • Hans Jacobse • Patrick McCaskey
• Leon J. Podles • Patrick Henry Reardon • Glenn Stanton
• C. R. Wiley.

Register today before rates increase next month; book hotel rooms before they sell out. This topic is "hot," maybe not as hot as Peterson and his "lobsters," but we are here for the long haul, in season and out of season. If you have an interest in manhood, fatherhood, family life, join us in October. In the meantime, courage.

Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,

James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James

—James M. Kushiner is Executive Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and Executive Director of The Fellowship of St. James.