To quote Yale professor William Deresiewicz:
Many modern adolescents are “great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”
One of the challenging things about being an rational academic or scientist in the modern American far-left progressive version of “science” is the realization that the things you believe in, strive for, can quickly become subsumed into dogma by your compatriots in the cause. What you once thought was a firm, factual grounding for you approach to the world gradually morphs into some sort of pseudo-religion. Even science. And there is no longer room for debate, either you accept our version of “the truth”, or you are the enemy. The heretic.
Of course, the great irony is that many of the great scientists in history were heretics in their day, either to the Church or the State or the pre-existing scientific establishment. Galileo. Einstein. Darwin. Dawkins. Gould.
Which brings us back to the question of incentives – why do what you do?
The current morphing of science into some sort of pseudo-religion by the mainstream left is really just a microcosm of a larger phenomenon facing those coming of age in the modern West. When you realize your chosen path in life – the one based on “facts” – is really just a construct made of beliefs, and beliefs that could easily be substituted with another set of beliefs, what do you do? They take your goals, your passions, your causes, even your science … and turn them into fervor. Indeed, you realize that a couple generations ago, they did the same, just with a different set of beliefs.
And so you find that your individualism – its pursuits and dreams – have been subsumed into some sort of communal fervor you never signed up for. A world of toxic masculinity, blurred genders, feminism. Where purpose and struggle and overcoming challenges has been replaced by participation trophies and safe spaces.
We have thus replaced the “what” we do, but in doing so lost the “why”.
There are many articles out there written about the “plight” of Millennial men. How are they are failing and falling behind, spending their days immersed in video games and junk food and porn and watching sports. Indeed among Millennial men aged 18-35, roughly 41% of them now make less than $30k per year, up from just 25% in 1975. Meanwhile, those same men have plummeted to make up only about 40% of college students, face higher unemployment than women, with nearly 33% of them still living at home with their parents. In short, modern day young men are falling through the cracks of a society that should be preparing them to sustain our society for future generations.
And as noted above relative to my own experience in science, why shouldn’t they just hang out playing video games and jerking off to porn. Society turned their backs on them. The belief in the enduring spirit of masculinity, to conquer challenges and be rewarded so for doing it, has been replaced by the mythos of toxic masculinity. Replacing one set of beliefs for another.
Why, as a young man today, should you really get off your ass to do anything? Where are the incentives? Anything you accomplish will be viewed as simply a matter of privilege, while SJWs and progressives actively work to disenfranchise you, and if you happen to notice or say anything, you our ruthlessly shamed and ridiculed. No fault divorces and antiquated alimony/child support laws have even altered the prospect of building a family for many men into a very risky endeavor. Incentives drive behavior. And make no mistake about the driving power of opportunity for mating and reproduction in the creation of human civilization …
So why shouldn’t men opt out? Or rather, why would they opt in? Red Pill, MGTOW, Going Galt … whatever you want to call it. Why should they continue to sustain a system that no longer sustains them?
The “what” has changed, and in doing so we have lost the “why”.
Some of this comes down to Science vs. Scientism (read this for an explanation of the differences). Indeed much of the Left’s embrace of science can be thought of as a form of scientism. We can even see this in the recent editing of old Bill Nye the Science Guy shows on Netflix, where they removed references to binary genders and make it appear that biological gender exists on a spectrum as scientific fact. It is NOT a scientific fact, my friends.
These are clear efforts to use a brand of scientism to “shape the narrative” and stifle discussion. To replace one set of beliefs with another. Which brings us back to my original point: when Liberalism and its Individualist ideals are subverted towards ulterior motives, we lose the meaning in the things we do. And when we lose meaning in the things we do, we lose the very incentives that foster those individual pursuits in the first place.
We need look no farther than the failure to launch of Millennial men as an example of those effects. In the end, those men still retain the only real power most men have ever had – the power to walk away.