Josh Hawley delivered a keynote address to the National Conservatism Conference on October 31, 2021 with the title “The Future of the American Man.” Josh Hawley was elected Senator from Missouri in the November 2018 election beating the incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill 51% to 46%; Donald Trump won Missouri 57% to 41% in the 2020 election.
This speech is quite interesting, inspiring I would say, but there is something missing from it. What is missing from it is not obvious, it would certainly not be obvious from the mainstream culture point of view, but it is noticeable to me.
In the early part of the speech Josh Hawley lays out the general theme of his presentation (2:40 to 3:39):
“What I want you to notice, what I want to call out tonight is that the deconstruction of America begins with and depends on the deconstruction of American men. The left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic. They want to define the traditional masculine virtues, things like courage and independence and assertiveness, as a danger to society. This is an effort that the left has been at for years now and they have had alarming success. American men are working less, they’re getting married in fewer numbers, they’re fathering fewer children, they’re suffering more anxiety and depression, they’re engaging in more substance abuse. Many men in this country are in crisis and their ranks are swelling. And that’s not just a crisis for men, that’s a crisis for the American Republic.”
Towards the end of his speech Josh Hawley lays out the hopeful ambition (24:11 to 25:23):
“Above all we got to lift up a vision of what’s possible in the United States of America. Can you imagine the potential of 16 million American men returning to work. Can you imagine what that would do for our country? Can you imagine the struggling communities and families that right now labor under the burden of poverty that would be lifted out of that if those 16 million men decided to go and get a job and start supporting their families and start supporting their children and start contributing to their communities, can you imagine? Can you imagine what would happen if fathers returned to their children and supported the women they love? Think about what that might mean? Think about the teenagers who would be spared from gangs and violence. Think about the depression and anxiety and loneliness and suicides that would be avoided. Think about the wives free to pursue their dreams. Think about the power of the joy and creativity that healthy families radiate, think about that released into our communities, times a thousand, times a hundred thousand, times a million, it would change this country. That’s the kind of thing that can happen, that’s the kind of vision we should be working for, that’s the kind of change that we should be pursuing.”
And then finally Josh Hawley finishes things off saying (25:43 to 26:13):
“American men are and can be an unrivalled force for good in the world if we will strengthen them, if we will challenge them, if we will empower them to be who they were made to be. Then we shall, in the words of scripture, build up the ancient ruins, raise up the former desolations, repair the ruined cities and the devastations of many generations.”
I would agree with almost everything that Josh Hawley has said here and it is refreshing and encouraging to hear a mainstream politician point out the crisis of men and the harm men’s disengagement from society and family life is doing to society and how in particular left wing and feminist attacks against men are leading to this disengagement from society and family life and therefore the damage caused by men’s disengagement from society and family life. This seems a bit radical, not what you commonly hear from a Republican politician, and it is extra good in that it highlights in particular the feminist attack against men as a problem.
What is missing from Josh Hawley’s speech is a deeper understanding of what the problem between men and women actually is. The impression that one gets from Hawley’s speech is that men are disengaging from society because the liberal establishment is being mean to them, calling them toxic, and making men ashamed to be men by constantly criticizing men without just cause. The solution then is to praise men, encourage men, tell men that their contributions and attributes as men are good and needed by society, and then men will feel proud of themselves as men and take on their rightful role and duties in society.
This is the concept of Masculine Pride, that the solution to the male female relationship problem is Masculine Pride. To a large extent this is what the popularity of Jordan Peterson is based on, and this is what Trad Cons promote. Masculine Pride is good, Masculine Pride is moving in the right direction, but Masculine Pride is not enough. Masculine Pride needs to be combined with an intention towards dominance and a strategy of dominance at the level of the individual man in the current overall feminist environment. Longer term Masculine Pride should be combined with an assumption of male dominance and an expectation of male dominance as well as cultural and legal biases towards men actually being dominant in their relationships with women and in their family life; in other words the reestablishment of Patriarchy.
Josh Hawley’s speech was not incompatible with feminism; it may have been hostile to feminist activism and modern liberal woke gender erasure ideology but it was not incompatible with feminism overall or the gender equality social construct. Now presumably a politician attacking core feminism or the gender equality principle itself would be too radical and get Josh Hawley in major trouble politically but in terms of the goal of bringing men back to family life for real the problem of gender equality will have to be addressed and tackled.
Overall, I think the Josh Hawley speech qualifies as Trad Con, is consistent with being Trad Con or Traditionalist Conservative. I think of Trad Cons as being the mainstream cultural conservatives from the 1990s. It is edgy or radical seeming for a Republican politician to so directly attack feminism or the war on men like Josh Hawley did but in terms of the substance of what Hawley said it seems consistent with what you would expect from a Trad Con. From my vantage point a Trad Con is still a feminist because feminism became mainstream in the 1970s and Trad Cons were basically the conservative side of mainstream social views in the 1990s.
I get the feeling listening to Josh Hawley’s speech that Masculine Pride is enough, that Masculine Pride is sufficient to make family life work again. This seems to be the Trad Con message in general, that Masculine Pride is enough, that the absence of Masculine Pride is the core fundamental problem and so therefore the solution is praise and encouragement to men to take on their manly role and their manly responsibilities.
Male dominance also has to be part of the picture; you’re not going to have healthy family life again without male dominance; you’re not going to have men returning to their proper and desirable roles as men without male dominance. Masculine Pride by itself is not enough because the man is being abused and exploited if he is not dominant while taking on his roles and duties as a man regardless of how much he is being praised and told he is good for his willingness to be abused and exploited.
Do I feel Masculine Pride being a man? Yes, because that is what God created me to be. I am proud to be who God created me to be. This is based on the presumption that what God has done is good; since God made me a man therefore me being a man is good; therefore I am proud to be a man, I am proud to take on the role and the purpose that God has assigned to me.
My pride in me being a man is not based on social approval of me being a man, it is based on the ethical purpose of me being a man that comes from God, that is derivative of me serving God and being who God wants me to be, who God created me to be.
Masculine Pride is empowering to men I would say in that if a man seeks power he is more likely to be able to achieve power but there is the problem of the man still being bound by social approval if he claims Masculine Pride based on the social approval and encouragement Trad Cons feed him in his assertions and claims of Masculine Pride in himself. Better is for the man to take on the Patriarchal role and purpose that God has granted to him whether the Trad Cons approve or not.
Related article: What is healthy masculinity?