Weaponizing Virtue Against Young Men
We have to be careful in how we encourage men to pursue virtue, because if we aren’t, that call to virtue could easily be weaponized against them.
Read any book or article about the virtues men are supposed to embody, and things like service to others and self-sacrifice are ubiquitous. This is a big part of Sen. Josh Hawley’s recent book Manhood, for example.
In one passage, Hawley writes:
Many societies press boys through rites of suffering as a gateway to full manhood, so that the boy will learn that to become a man is to become self-sacrificial, to be willing to give one’s life for others.
Service and sacrifice are wonderful virtues. It was Jesus Christ himself who say that greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend.
At the same time, it matters what and who you are serving and sacrificing for. And the role your sacrifice plays in the overall system in which it is participating.
As one example, American conservatives have long been very patriotic. They’ve seen it as one of the noblest callings to serve this country in the military. Indeed it is. Those young men and women who sign up to serve are our finest people, and deserve due honor for that.
At the same time, does our military honor their service and sacrifice by deploying our military wisely and in just causes? Too often today, the answer is No. The result has been far too many of our finest youth killed or maimed in the service of falsehoods like “WMDs in Iraq” or “They will greet us as liberators.”
Even worse is when America’s soldiers are commanded to commit crimes.
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