I wish to offer some general impressions of Dr. Helen Smith with her newly released book Men on Strike. Smith seems to be presenting herself as an MRA (Men’s Rights Activist) even using the term coined by MRAs “White Knight” to describe conservative or “chivalrous” men. Smith being an MRA is quite interesting considering Smith’s high profile; her Men on Strike book even got favorable mention on the Rush Limbaugh show and Smith was then interviewed for Rush Limbaugh’s newsletter. This is mighty big publicity for an MRA. Helen Smith and her book have also been featured on Fox News. In addition to Helen Smith Suzanne Venker is another high profile person who has been saying things friendly to “men’s rights.” Even the legendary Phyllis Schlafly is known to sound like an MRA now and then.
The key characteristic of an MRA is the denial of male responsibility. This is why I am not an MRA, why I am opposed to the MRAs, because MRAs deny and refuse male responsibility. In general I agree with everything MRAs say about feminism but that is not going to make me support MRAs because a healthy society can only be based on male responsibility. Men are the foundation of society, not women. Male duty and male responsibility is the bedrock that everything else is built upon. Male duty and male responsibility comes first.
I have heard Helen Smith refer to herself as a libertarian. This fits with the MRA mentality. There is a strong streak of libertarianism among MRAs. MRAs are also very atheistic. You don’t see MRAs at all in highly religious environments; MRAs are a particularly secular phenomenon. Libertarianism and atheism fits with the MRA proclivity to be male focused above all else and to shun responsibility. Libertarianism is about denying responsibility and obligation towards others while atheism is about denying objective truth and objective moral standards that one is bound by whether you like it or not. Both of these tendencies are typical for MRAs. MRAs are also not community focused. Religious communities tend to be community focused meaning they will not fall into the trap of only caring about men.
Are society and the culture as it stands unfair to men? Definitely. Are men avoiding marriage in large numbers due to societal and legal prejudices against men? Almost certainly. What is the solution to this problem? The solution is male authority and male responsibility based on men asserting their rightful role in society. The rightful role of men is both leader and authority figure as well as provider and protector. Men asserting their rightful role in society has to include both assertion of authority and acceptance of responsibility and burden; indeed the assertion of authority is explicitly for the purpose of allowing men to provide for and protect women. The ultimate male purpose is to provide for and protect women; the means to achieve this end is male authority.
One thing I don’t like about Dr. Helen Smith’s overall approach is that she seems to have this attitude that society has become unfair to men. In the past women had the raw end of the deal but now “equality” has gone too far and men are the persecuted and discriminated against sex now. Society should be made to be “more fair” to men, men need to start asserting their interests as men more, and in the future after men reclaim their dignity and voice as men and cultural attitudes and laws become more fair towards men then society might be able to achieve a more happy equilibrium between the sexes and ultimately have fairness and equality between men and women at long last.
What’s wrong with this way of thinking is that it assumes there is some kind of “equality” out there to be had and that such an “equality” is desirable in the first place. There is no equality between men and women; there never was and there never can be. The social model that comes closest to equality is patriarchy because patriarchy values both men’s and women’s strengths and makes accommodations for the needs and interests of both men and women. When people in modern discourse talk about “equality” however they seem to have something else in mind. When feminists say “equality” they mean female supremacy. When MRAs say “equality” they mean male supremacy. This is the problem with the modern concept of equality between the sexes. Since there is no natural equality between the sexes any effort to impose “equality” on men and women is completely artificial meaning that “equality” has no objective standard of reality to be measured by. This then means that “equality” is purely in the eye of the beholder and “equality” is then used to justify whatever selfish power grabs the advocate for “equality” wants for themselves. This is how feminist gender equality morphs into female supremacy and MRA style gender equality morphs into male supremacy.
The entire idea of gender equality is fallacious and should be thrown out. Instead there are masculine privileges that men are entitled to and feminine privileges that women are entitled to; these masculine and feminine privileges being the essence of traditional gender roles or patriarchy.
I think in some ways this whole MRA phenomenon is an effort to fix a broken system that can’t be fixed. The “broken system” I am referring to here being the whole concept of gender equality, personal freedom and individual choice, each individual pursuing their own self-interest in cooperation with a romantic partner of like mind and similar life goals formulating a relationship together according to whatever the two parties agree upon among themselves. This whole idea of everyone being their own individual entity going through life forming unions of mutual cooperation and mutual purpose, as long as the relationship is satisfying to both parties, with the underlying ethic that each party is of approximately equal power and therefore neither party is “oppressing” the other; this whole idea of human affairs doesn’t work. It doesn’t work and it can’t work. It can’t work because it is based on selfishness; it is not based on a higher purpose or divine mission. It also can’t work because it ignores the differences between men and women as well as placing children in a second tier status where the child’s needs are peripheral and dependent upon adult preferences.
MRAs are not radical; they want to fiddle around the edges of the social system as it currently exists to make things “more fair.” MRAs are still within the overall libertarian gender equality mindset that feminists pioneered in the first place. MRAs are not a rebellion against feminism; they are instead an extension of feminism. They think making things “fair for men” will somehow bring the social system as it is back into alignment. The thing is the current social system is not “out of alignment” or “unbalanced;” the current social system’s underlying premises are foundationally corrupt. Selfishness and gender equality can never make a social system work; the only foundation possible for a durable social system is male authority in obedience to God.