June 14 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Charlotte Hays

As a prelude to Father’s Day, Fay Vincent, former baseball commissioner, celebrates his own father today in a charming column in the Wall Street Journal.

Vincent provided a list of things his father taught him, and one in particular struck me:

If your boss or employer is not making money on you, you will eventually lose your job. Your work has to permit him to profit on what you produce. If you and the employer just break even you are not being properly productive. Get to work early and stay late if necessary.

Such an old-fashioned notion about work and one that is at variance with the contemporary one that regards  employment as a “right!” I urge you to read Vincent’s column. It portrays a man who was thrifty, moral, and self-confident.    

Unfortunately, as Father’s Day rolls around this Sunday, fatherhood and indeed manly virtues are under attack. Helen Smith’s new book, Man on Strike:  Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood and the American Dream—and Why It Matters, deals with this. Smith’s thesis is that American society has become so anti-male that many men are simply going on strike.

One reviewer wrote:

Men on Strike goes through how our society has changed to one where bashing males is an approved activity in our education system, our cultural activities and our courts. The fact that female thought processes dominates our schools was evident in my kids’ schooling, but I had no idea about the extremes that have been happening in our universities.

Smith’s discussion on the elimination of due process for males accused of harassment at universities reveals how the atmosphere at universities has become appalling for men. And we wonder why men are not attending universities in as high proportions as women.

When Christina Hoff Sommers’ The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men first came out slightly more than a decade ago, the thesis was highly controversial. As a second, updated edition is coming out shortly, we mostly agree that boys and men have a tough time today. We are quick to remove advertisements that offend women but don’t bother about those that portray men as clueless.

So if you’re inclined to dismiss Father’s Day as a hopeless call to commercialism, maybe you shouldn’t. Fathers need some praise.

So happy Father’s Day to those men who shoulder the obligations and reap the benefits of being fathers!

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