If you feel like your values and your very nature are under assault — they are.
Two things happened on the same day last week that provide ample evidence that values and life‐ways we cleave to here at Running Iron Report are under concerted and deliberate attack.
The American Psychological Association has released new guidelines for psychological practice with men and boys. Surprising no one, the APA concludes that “Traditional Masculinity Ideology” which by the APA definition includes “anti‐femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence” can be psychologically harmful to men and boys.
On the same day these guidelines were released, Oregon Senate Bill 501 was unveiled. This bill would require Oregonians to obtain a permit before buying a gun, limit the amount of ammunition a person could buy, outlaw magazines with a capacity of more than five rounds, and create gun locking and storage requirements. If passed, Senate Bill 501 would make Oregon’s firearms regulations among the strictest in the U.S.
As always, we encourage you to read the source material for yourself rather than relying on media coverage — or our interpretation. Draw your own conclusions.
We will take up both of these matters in detail in coming posts. I am traveling this week and must attend to other duties, so consider this an alert and a pin in the map.
The proponents of redefining masculinity and of gun control share numerous characteristics and I suspect there is considerable overlap in their political and cultural Venn diagrams. Tactically, they both engage in misdirection. Extreme gun control that makes felons out of law abiding, socially constructive citizens is pitched as “gun safety” or “common sense gun reform.” The conflation of “traditional masculinity” with “toxic masculinity” allows the “redefiners” to pretend that they are not attacking “good men” while simultaneously undermining much that is good in them.
In the case of the APA guidelines, the estimable David French has identified this misdirection as a classic “motte and bailey argument.” French writes:
The APA issues guidelines that do indeed target traditional masculinity as commonly understood. Then, under pressure, they issue a statement that redefines the term. This is a form of “motte‐and‐bailey” argument. It’s a concept based on an ancient form of fortification. The “bailey” was the place where you lived and worked. The “motte” is the fortress you retreated to when attacked.
Motte‐and‐bailey argumentation works like this — begin by making wide, sweeping, and stereotypical arguments. That’s your bailey. In the identity‐politics context, that’s where you see activists condemn “whiteness,” make broad attacks on Christianity, and (yes) express anger at “masculinity.” Then, when called out for a level of bigotry they’d never tolerate in others, they retreat to the motte — claiming all they’re really concerned about are the truly bad actors. They don’t actually mean to attack everyone, just the bad people.
And so it is here. Called out for the sweeping denunciation of traditional masculinity, the APA’s statement retreats to the motte. Oh no, they say, they’re just concerned with “extreme behaviors that harm self and others.”
Well then, say that on the front end. Revise the guidelines to make that explicit. And, above all, do not equate those “extreme behaviors” with traditional masculinity. In fact, traditional masculinity rejects harmful extremes. A man properly brought up to be traditionally masculine seeks to protect others from those harmful extremes.
More to come.