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“It’s good to be a man.” This is such a shocking statement in our egalitarian day and age that a couple of pastors actually wrote a book with that very same title last year. Seriously, the book was called It’s Good to Be a Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity.
It is, indeed, good to be a man in general — but it’s even better to be a strong, virtuous man of God. To that end, another book has just hit the shelves; only this one wasn’t written by pastors but by a politician.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., just released his entry in the effort to help address the crisis of masculinity facing America. It’s titled Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.
Dedicated to his sons, Elijah and Blaise, Hawley explains that the genesis of the book came from a time when, as a law professor, he regularly interacted with hurting young men. He writes:
“Many of the young men who came to see me were struggling, and in ways they found hard exactly to define. Some lacked confidence, some lacked direction; others could not seem to get motivated. They were afraid to fail, to venture out and take a risk, but felt at the same time dissatisfied with their lives as they knew them. One after another said, in one way or another, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with my life. And yet they felt they were failing at whatever that was.”
Hawley recounts one particularly heartbreaking story of a young man who felt so lost and paralyzed at his inability to “get ahead” that he even tried to commit suicide twice. Hawley goes on:
“His case may be extreme. But the general pattern is by no means atypical. The numbers tell the tale, on one measure after another. More and more young men are living at home with their parents, apparently incapable of coping with life on their own.“
Whether it is living at home for longer period of times; earning less; underperforming in school; dealing with an addiction to pornography, alcohol, or social media; or struggling to connect with women in a productive way in the pursuit of marriage, many young men feel like they are barely getting by and even that the deck is increasingly stacked against them in this woke and effeminate world.
In short, Hawley argues that “All is not well with men in America. And that spells trouble for the American republic. ” And he wants to help change that.
Reporting on his book, The Post Millennial explains that the book’s 10 chapters are split into 2 parts. “The first details what it means to become a man, and the second explains the numerous duties a man must perform in his life, including husband, father, warrior, and builder.”
Even better, it’s clear that Hawley’s Christian faith is the theological and philosophical foundation for his admonishment for men to act like men. The Post Millennial explains,
“Hawley, a devout Christian, centers his view of manliness around the Bible, arguing that the text ‘can inspire men today, guide them, and disclose new possibilities for their souls.’ He suggests that if all men were to follow ‘the good book,’ it would result in ‘renewal for the American republic.’”
But where does this crisis in manhood and godly masculinity come from? In a recent interview with Fox News, Hawley pointed his finger at a few culprits, but most pointedly at the media and the Left.
Each of these entities are, in their own ways, waging a war on men, trying to remake them into weak, androgynous, addicted, and compliant servants of the godless, globalist, progressive regime. Hawley forcefully argued that it’s been a huge mistake to encourage and even “welcome men who are passive and tame, who will do as they are told.”
Fox News writes:
“Hawley said the media makes the problem worse by making it clear it favors men who are ‘androgynous consumers’ for the benefit of big businesses. He wrote in his book that androgyny is a new top ideal of the ‘Epicurean left’ in ‘big corporations and the corporate media. This is the dirty secret of what the left really wants, which is: they want men not to rock the boat.’”
What’s the solution? Hawley argues that what is needed is a recovery of masculine virtue:
“It has been a perennial question of political philosophy, since the first republics were formed, whether a free nation could survive without soundness of character in its people. The old-fashioned word for that is virtue, meaning not just moral uprightness but the personal fortitude and vision such uprightness produces—strength, in other words. Machiavelli called it virtù. Practically everywhere one looks in America now, male virtù is crumbling, and the consequences for the country are grave.”
But in order to rebuild virtuous men, we must look for wisdom from beyond this world. Hawley rightly recognizes that the virtue men most need to recover, to pursue, own, and display in society, is a scripturally-informed set of virtues that draws from the best book on masculinity ever written — the Bible.
By embracing the Bible as the foundation for true virtuous manhood, Hawley is explicitly countering some other “manosphere” voices, like the very popular Andrew Tate. Tate, who has millions of followers on Twitter, also recognizes that the culture wrongly demonizes men, calling them “toxic.” But instead of offering a better way, Tate calls on men to revel in their aggression and indulge their appetites — the watching world be damned.
Hawley pushes back on this approach, explaining that he thinks Tate “has bought into the leftist critique. He’s bought into this idea that masculinity is inherently toxic…He’s just owning it and saying, ‘Yeah, that’s great. Let’s all be toxic.’ But my message to men is we can do better than that.”
What does it look like to “do better than that?” Drawing from biblical themes, Hawley exhorts men to pursue six different expressions of their virtuous manhood, six different “roles” as it were: husband, father, warrior, builder, priest, king.
These are good aims for men of all ages. We see the Apostle Paul delivering similar encouragement to men in 1 Corinthians 16:13, where he exhorts them,
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
It will be interesting to watch the reaction to Hawley’s book. It’s not often these days that we see young politicians speaking directly to social ills from an unapologetically biblical perspective — which makes Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs a breath of fresh air and even a welcome surprise.
I hope to review the book in its entirety in these pages soon. But until then, pay attention to the voices commending and criticizing it, and ask yourself this: “Do they sound like they want to see strong, virtuous and godly men leading our nation again, or not?”
I know I want that. Sen. Hawley wants that. And if enough Christians and pastors can shake off the excessive feminization that rests on our republic like a toxic cloud and join in the exhortations to recover strong men — to make men great again — then maybe, just maybe, our entire country can be made great again as well.
Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.