Look deep within any man, and you find a set of rules by which he lives and dies. Men live and die by a code of manhood.
But different men live by different codes of honor. Christian men live by a code of honor that promotes moral virtue and inner strength. Hedonist men live by a code of honor that encourages “manly prowess” and ignores – and indeed laughs at – traditional male virtues.
Society shapes the code of manhood that most men follow. When a society is virtuous, manly virtues such as self-restraint, courage, chivalry, and honor are encouraged by society. In a strong and morally grounded society, men tend to adopt a code of honor that upholds virtue. These virtues led to the growth and rise of civilization – hence the rapid growth of the Roman republic.
But when a society is morally corrupt and decayed, manly virtues disappear, and decline results. Rome during the period of the barbarian invasions was a sick society, where true manhood was cast aside in orgies of pleasure-seeking. Roman collapsed because of its abandonment of the code of true manhood.
Like the Romans of barbarian times, we live in the throes of a cultural miasma. The culture today is diseased – and as a result, manhood is a rare phenomenon in modern society, and often mocked by cultural elites wherever it is found.
In modern America, the male code of manhood dictates that manliness results from physical prowess, from looks, from muscles, from how many women one can bed. A code of manhood that expects unmanly actions of its practitioners is the order of the day.
The stark truth is, of course, that those who sleep with a host of women don’t have the guts (and if only males were reading this, I would be much stronger in my condemnation) to commit themselves to one woman. Men who fail to live virtuous lives, in the last analysis, fail to be true men.
But the prevailing expectations for men demand behavior that excludes virtue entirely. It is incredibly difficult to be a man when men today are bombarded with the message that pain-free pleasure is the highest good.
A new cult of manhood is needed – one that encourages strength of will and character, one that promotes virtue instead of immorality, one that inculcates respect for femininity instead of denigrating it as only a source of pleasure. In other words, a cult of manhood that encourages men to be men, rather than slaves to animalistic pleasure.
But men rarely become what they should be without proper example. To foster a code of manhood, a culture of Christian virtue is needed - for that is the culture best suited to encourage true manly virtue.
In other words, culture needs to become truly Christianized into one that will encourage a true code of manhood.