We No Longer Make Boys Into Men

Mar 29, 2021 by

by Anthony Esolen, The Imaginative Conservative:

In our time of fatherlessness, underachieving boys, social fraying, and the collapse of marriage, helping boys to become men needs to be done. We owe it to them in justice, or else we will not have healthy families, parishes, neighborhoods, and towns.

Many years ago, in an article for Touchstone called, “A Requiem for Friendship,” I wrote that the public acceptance of homosexuality would cast suspicion on physical expressions of friendship among males, and would make it more difficult for boys to forge strong friendships in the first place, especially if such boys were shy or not athletic. I said that all civilizations have been built upon those bonds: the team, the platoon, the guild, the hunting party, the council, the work crew, the school. I begged people to consider that in this matter as in others in human life, to condone the bad thing you notice in front of you is to curtail or damage or obliterate the good thing you do not notice, because you have taken it for granted, or because you do not care overmuch for the people who will be hurt.

Absolutely nothing of what I said then will I retract now. Rather, I will add this. If you so much as express in writing a concern for the plight of boys, someone will rush to cast suspicion upon you, as if you were no other and no better than a Ted McCarrick eyeing up the seminarians at the swimming pool. I will wager that when Helen Hunt Jackson went out west in the 1880’s to observe the Indians and write about their plight, many a sniffing woman or sniggering man nodded to say, “We know what she really wants, and it ain’t justice.”

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