Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bill Bennett gives advice

William J. Bennett writes on
For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.

Now, society has rightly celebrated the ascension of one sex. We said, "You go girl," and they went. We celebrate the ascension of women but what will we do about what appears to be the very real decline of the other sex?

The data does not bode well for men. In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women's earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.

In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. Men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, but women are catching them and will soon be passing them if this trend continues.

The warning signs for men stretch far beyond their wallets. Men are more distant from a family or their children then they have ever been. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40% in America. In 1960, only 11% of children in the U.S. lived apart from their fathers. In 2010, that share had risen to 27%. Men are also less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39% of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47% of women.

If you don't believe the numbers, just ask young women about men today. You will find them talking about prolonged adolescence and men who refuse to grow up. I've heard too many young women asking, "Where are the decent single men?" There is a maturity deficit among men out there, and men are falling behind.
Bennett has a curious past. He got rich on a book that was ghostwritten by others. He was a drug czar under Pres. G.H.W. Bush while he was addicted to nicotine. He has frittered away millions of dollars on a gambling addiction.

He gives his opinion:
Man's response has been pathetic. Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys. While women are graduating college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married and not raising families. Women are beginning to take the place of men in many ways. This has led some to ask: do we even need men?

So what's wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, "What kind of man are you?" but don't explain.

Movies are filled with stories of men who refuse to grow up and refuse to take responsibility in relationships. Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. Through all these different and conflicting signals, our boys must decipher what it means to be a man, and for many of them it is harder to figure out.

For boys to become men, they need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example and correction. It is true in all ages. Someone once characterized the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them?
That's his solution? Guiding young men with advice?

Planning video games is better than compulsively losing millions in Las Vegas.

There are larger cultural trends at work here, and they cannot be solved by people like Bennett urging young men to take responsibility. I think that the young men have figured it out better than Bennett.


Anonymous said...

Years ago, the raising of children was left up to the mothers. They also took care of running the home. For the most part, no mother worked outside the home. Earning money was left up to the fathers, who would come home and not really do too much with the kids. When mothers started working outside the home, and having their 'careers,' they also wanted to keep doing the home 'thing.' Being human and getting tired, they insisted that their men help out. To their surprise, the husbands and fathers were not only good at taking care of home and family, they were frequently better than they were. Women, with their high energy, multi-tasking minds, perfectionist leaning minds get exhausted and crabby. Dads doing the same things don't usually wear themselves out in this fashion: they just get the jobs done and spend good time with their children. Society hasn't yet caught up with the fact that fathers are all too freqently the better parents.

Anonymous said...

Bill Bennett erroneously assumes we value his opinion or advice.

Anonymous said...

Yeah ! Bill Bennett gives advice ? Bill Bennett NEEDS advice.