There has been a worldwide failure of manhood. Woman, said De Tocqueville, form the mores of society, that is, the rules by which the society operates. If Women demand men be strong, the men will become strong, and if they demand men be well versed in Shakespeare, men will read him–what the woman hold as the standard men will conform to. This is a two way street since women tend to want the sort of men whom other men look up to; there is a vicious circle where everyone is losing sight of what it is to be a good man, and now that the greatest attacks against the family and our communities are being launched by governments at every level and even globally, we must recapture and renew within ourselves and our sons what it means to be a good man, or we shall all perish with no more than a whimper. Boys want to imitate what they see in the movies, and girls love the men they see in them too, so it seems that it is very important to show good movies that portray excellent men to our children. Of course it goes without saying that we want the same for well portrayed women and for similar reasons, but that is for another day.
Here are a couple movies that should help us think through how to respond. If your children were to imitate the good characters in these movies, and everyone you knew were to do the same, then we would never have to fear the government or the violent mobs again. Remember, both are no more than exalted bullies when they begin to act as they are doing now.
- We have lost our ability to act in unison and talk instead of acting.
The Magnificent Seven and The Seven Samurai are both good films where a village is being oppressed by bandits and the village sends a delegation into a large, nearby town to look for help. The villagers are pathetic in both movies, but do act to save themselves, and they do so by seeking the help of professional fighters. These professionals are not of the MMA type, but are instead masters of their craft who also are dedicated to an aesthetic and virtuous life. The virtues may be odd, and not entirely in line with a catholic life, but because they have a certain dedication and willingness to help those weaker than themselves in a full-blown, selfless way they are able to protect the villagers. In both movies there is, moreover, a 7th member who is not an accepted member of the profession but who is able by his desire to excel in spite of the danger. We need to cultivate this sense of chivalry again, and make it a communal thing which will inspire others to join us. Your sons should form a brotherhood with their friends where they actively look for those in need so that they can help them when the going gets tough; even when the going it not tough the enemy is on the move and, if we do not form such bonds now, it will be too late to do so when the need is nigh. We’ve too often seen a single man stand up only to stand alone and be beaten down by the mob in action because he had no brothers and everyone stood aside and did nothing to help him.
- That said, we must be willing to act alone if we must.
High Noon and both versions of 3:10 to Yuma are good stories about men standing alone to do what is right. In all three films the men do not act rashly by turning down aid. On the contrary, the Sheriff in High Noon and Dan Evans in 3:10 to Yuma try to work with others who abandon them through cowardice. They nonetheless choose to fight. In 3:10 to Yuma Dan Evans chooses to fight because it is right, although he initially took the job, taking a renowned outlaw to prison in the teeth of the outlaws gang, to make a little money to save his farm. Furthermore, he knows that his sons are looking to him for an example of what it means to be a good man and he cannot let them down. We must be willing to act, and in so doing we will teach our sons to act. One of the best movies made, On the Waterfront, has Fr. Barry stand up to the mob and get killed, his example inspires Marline Brando to stand up to the mob, and he gets beaten half to death. He doesn’t give up though, and he in turn shows the laborers that you can stand up to the mob which effectively destroys the mob boss.
- Of course, it will a lot easier to act well if we are skilled in a way like the men in the magnificent seven. I don’t mean we need to be gunslingers, though that couldn’t hurt if we are prudent. It is hard to see exactly what situation will arise: we could be held up on a freeway by a mob of BLM, we could have our work demand that we get the vaccine, we could have to choose between calling a man a ‘she’ and losing our job, we could have to up and move our family if our state become too crazy. Here we can only work diligently to prepare for everything by becoming good ourselves, aiming for courage, prudence, and situational awareness. Jason Bourne is supremely aware, St. Thomas More in A Man for all Seasons is prudent and makes a stand where he knows he must, The list of movies highlighting courage is endless, but Zulu, Davy Crocket, John Wayne’s Alamo are a few that come to mind.
- But in our actions we must not demand that we be recognized, we must be modest in our actions. In Monsieur Vincent St. Vincent De Paul starts huge and successful efforts to help the poor without fanfare. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence John Wayne saves the day but tells no one until he needs to, and then he only tells the one person who needs to know. In 12 Angry Men Henry Fonda turns a jury without recourse to anything but a desire to have the truth and certainly of the verdict.
We really need good men and we are usually more influenced by our imaginations then anything else, so let’s be sure our boys watch good movies. Since a truly virtuous man has all the virtues, we should watch all the great movies which show virtuous men, and we would even watch the movies that show vice getting its comeuppance. Put your suggestions in the comments and start preparing your families so that we never let a debacle like this last year happen again.