Why Sen. Josh Hawley Telling Young Men to Man Up Won't Work
One of the reasons I started writing my newsletter was that I saw so many young men turning to online gurus for life advice rather than seeking direction from traditional institutions and authority figures, particularly the church. Why are young men avoiding church but tuning in by the millions to people ranging from the relatively anodyne Jordan Peterson to the dubious Andrew Tate?
I came to the conclusion that the church was getting it wrong on some important points, and the online gurus, despite being morally questionable in many cases, were often more factually accurate and gave better insights about the real world we live in.
I want to highlight an example of how traditional conservative figures miss the mark on men in the form of a recent appearance by Sen. Josh Hawley on Tucker Carlson’s show. I believe Hawley is serious and well-intentioned. I completely share his goals that more people would get married and have kids, and that men would kick the porn habit. Unlike many, he’s also getting some things right. Unfortunately, he is also off in some ways that will undermine his effectiveness. I will review these in some detail so that he, and others who are genuinely concerned about the problems facing young men today, can re-calibrate to become even more effective.
But first let’s watch these. Here’s the Tucker Carlson segment:
Here’s a transcript of a portion of Hawley’s remarks:
Somebody’s got to be honest and tell the truth to these young men. And the truth is that what the porn industry is selling them is a total lie. And the truth is, American society needs them. We need them to step up. We need them to go get married, have families, and be responsible husbands and fathers. This society is impoverished because too many young men are too despairing, are too checked out on social media or porn to be doing what we need them to be doing as a country. It’s time to call people, to call young people in particular, young men, to be something more. And Tucker, they want to be called to it. They don’t want to be sold a bill of goods anymore. Somebody needs to tell them the truth.
The message to young people is the most you can aspire to in life is to be a consumer who sits in a cubicle in front of a computer all day - and doesn’t ask any questions, doesn’t do anything meaningful with your life. And what we need to say to young men - and young women, too - is just the opposite. Aspire to be something more than a consumer. For young men, aspire to be something more than a consumer of pornography. Aspire to actually create something in your life - like create a family, for instance. That is the single greatest act of rebellion, if you like, against the liberal culture that is suppressing people’s desires, that is suppressing their potential, is to go out and actually engage in real relationships, get married, have a family, have kids, have your own ideas and be a responsible member of society. This is what people are built to do. It’s what young people want to do. They want to be challenged.
Tucker’s segment is a follow-up to a speech by Hawley at a recent Turning Points USA event. TPUSA is a youth oriented conservative group similar to the old Young Americans for Freedom or College Republicans. I was unable to find a full video of Hawley’s talk (send it to me at if you have one). But here are what appear to be a few clips.
A transcript of a portion of this:
Young men, let me make a suggestion to you. Why don’t you turn off the computer and log off the porn and go ask a real woman on a date? How about that? It’s just a thought. Ask her out! Young men, why don’t you be the one to do the asking? How about that? Don’t wait for her. You go ask. Show her a little respect. And then you take her out and you treat her right. How about that? Don’t make her cater to your whims. Treat her right. Treat her right. Treat her like what she is, a woman - a person of incredible significance, created in the image of God. And you know what? You treat her right, and then one day you do her the honor and show her the respect of asking her to marry you. And then you go get married. And you have children. And you give your life to them. You give your life to that marriage. You give your life to that spouse. You give your life to those children. I would just say this. Young people, aspire to be more than a consumer. Aspire to be a parent, a husband, a father, a wife, a mother. That’s a wife worth living. That’s a life with some dignity.
Here’s are two additional clips:
And a transcript of a portion of that:
It’s not that you don’t have it in you. It’s that not very many people are asking. Well, I’ll tell you what: I’m here to ask. I’m asking you to stand up and save this country. I’m here to ask you to embrace your responsibility. I’m here to ask you to choose duty over self, to choose sacrifice over self, to choose love over self, to choose country over self. That is what will make America great. That is what will save our nation. That is what will change the course of this country’s future. You can do it. Only you can do it. No party, no program - you! Us together. The lives we lead. The choices we make. The sacrifices we are willing to make.
Let’s dig in and analyze Hawley’s approach, highlighting the positives as well as some areas that need to be tweaked.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial