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 How Well-Meaning Government Checks Fueled a Devastating Crisis for Men

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PostSubject: How Well-Meaning Government Checks Fueled a Devastating Crisis for Men   How Well-Meaning Government Checks Fueled a Devastating Crisis for Men Icon_minitimeThu Oct 06, 2022 10:07 pm

One of the more intriguing sub-plots of the 2002 Fox show "Firefly" was the idea that the government of the future was trying to pacify its population by injecting a chemical named Pax (Latin for "Peace") into the air, hoping it would make people easier to control. The plan backfired, and the individuals exposed became so lethargic that they lost any will to live, while a small percentage had the opposite reaction and turned into a group of self-mutilating cannibals.

How Well-Meaning Government Checks Fueled a Devastating Crisis for Men Deaths-despair

This isn't just an entertaining thought experiment; it's an excellent analogy for something our own governments have been doing: pumping money into the economy and creating a situation that in many ways resembles the effects of Pax–at least when it comes to the male part of the population.

In recent years, numerous scholars have written on the topic of how working-class men are withering in an otherwise prosperous society. Nicholas Eberstadt, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute has just published an updated version his 2016 book Men Without Work, in which he demonstrates that a trend that began in the 90s was accelerated by the pandemic, when government programs incentivized many men to go into a form of "premature retirement" and drop out of the workforce.

The numbers in 2019 resemble nothing so much as the tail end of the Great Depression, when for each jobless prime-age man from 25 to 45 you could find four men who were neither working nor looking for work.

There is a big difference, of course: In the 1930s, unemployment was the consequence of an economic shock, not a deliberate choice being made by millions of men, as it is today.

What are these men doing if they aren't working? They are not part of family life, civil society, or helping out at home. Instead, sociologists have found, they spend most of their time in front of screens, the equivalent in hours to what a full-time job would entail. This trait is not limited to men, of course; women who are neither employed, in education, or training show similar behavior. But there are fewer of them overall.

Unfortunately, the similarities to Whedon's fictional universe do not end here. While some men have become lethargic couch potatoes, others have turned violent. There is increasing evidence that domestic violence surged during the pandemic, with women and children the victims in most cases.

That our current societal structure has caused a crisis of boys and men is also supported by a recent book by Richard V. Reeves of the Brookings Institution with that as its title: Of Boys and Men. White working-class men are leading in"deaths of despair," mostly suicides and drug overdoses. They are less capable of escaping poverty and climbing up the socioeconomic latter. Family background, for example, has more of an impact on school performance when it comes to boys compared to girls, who tend to have higher rates of college enrollment even if raised by a single parent—a predictor of downward mobility for boys.

Indeed, there is evidence that the best thing that can happen to young boys in broken homes is to have older sisters, who often play a crucial (and underreported) role in childrearing and the cognitive development of their younger siblings.

Men are also getting lonelier, with 15 percent reporting they have no close friends, a number that was only 3 percent in 1990. The number of young men living with their parents is now higher than the number of those living with their partner or wife.

Before one thinks that this is some form of cosmic justice for centuries of male dominance, think again; ambitionless men are not good for women, either, who are increasingly struggling to find life partners, contributing to the skyrocketing number of children born out of wedlock. There is a newly-limited pool of suitable male partners, with a growing percentage of men either mentally checked out porn addicts or over-performing Alpha males who prefer multiple partners, ideally and always significantly younger (26 being a popular cut-off point; think Leonardo DiCaprio).

This should be a call to action for government programs, but ones that are not simply handing out checks to people but creating conditions where a meaningful and dignified life is possible.


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