The Fall of Man

In her 2007 book, The Death of the Grown-Up, Diana West deconstructs a seismic cultural shift that began in the 1950s, took hold in the 1960s and continues to define society in the twenty-first century. It began innocently enough in the period of relative peace and prosperity that followed World War II. It was then that the men of “the Greatest Generation” returned home to find working wives with no inclination to leave their new careers, leading to the dawn of the two-income household. The Depression far behind them, these parents lavished their children with hefty allowances, giving the younger demographic, the newly-minted “teen-ager”, immediate influence in the marketplace. Suddenly, books, movies, magazines and music were being aimed at the 13+ age group, as adolescent wants and needs slowly came to define what was “hip” and “cool”. Simultaneously, additional pressures were further cleaving the generations. The teachings of Dr. Benjamin Spock, combined with the lingering effects of the Nazi horror, created an environment that distrusted authority, leading to a more hands-off, “democratic” form of parenting. Children, who in earlier eras would have learned farming or trades from their parents, now learned the requisite skills for economic survival in classrooms, surrounded by their peers. Those classrooms, and the teaching methods contained therein, increasingly oriented themselves around the desires of the student, designed to promote his ability to fully “express” himself. All of this had the effect of creating a generation of teenagers that was incredibly impressed with itself, and unabashedly convinced of its own importance. They would make this abundantly clear to the rest of the world upon matriculating to college in the 1960s, taking over campuses during the Vietnam War and demanding that their opinions be heard and endorsed.

In addition to elevating America’s youth to a new level of prominence, the transformation that West describes also had a second, surprising consequence: adults became so invested in the lives of their offspring that they gradually began to embrace the world of the adolescent. In 1961, this radical role reversal saw parents make Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” a number one hit several years after their children had done the same; today, it takes the form of the crop-top wearing mother of three, or the backwards cap-wearing executive. Whereas, through the early parts of the twentieth century, children had always aspired to be adults, now adults were aspiring to be more like their children.

This “death of the grown-up”, more suicide than natural demise, has had profoundly deleterious affects on society. As the liberal, youth-oriented counterculture has gradually become the establishment, its pervasive ethos of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” has all but eliminated moral standards. Taking the place of rock-solid, Judeo-Christian virtues are sets of ever-shifting, relativistic “values,” and a multiculturalist ethic that razes the legacy of Western Civilization while overstating the impact of its supposed peers. All of this has left us with a society ashamed of its own history, incapable of fully defending itself against threats, and unwilling to make the types of hard choices that defined “the Greatest Generation.”

It is a society not just in retreat, but one that seems to have all but surrendered. Lost in a maze of video games and mobile apps, engrossed in a ubiquitous supply of pornography and reality television, and made numb by legalized marijuana and unlimited prescription drugs, large swaths of the population have shrugged off the constrictions of responsibility and embraced a life of leftist fantasy: a world where debt is meaningless, where borders are irrelevant and where existential dangers are written off as “lone wolves” or “small groups of extremists.” In this world of the eternal child, men, heroic men of courage and conviction, exemplifying the once-lionized virtues of masculinity, no longer belong. Those who embody such traits are either shunted safely out of sight, in the best case, or vilified publicly, in the worst. As West writes, these quiet “warriors” — the soldier, the first responder — are a threat to a liberal culture that has embraced perpetual adolescence:

Warriors, after all, are adults, mature men whose example can make non-warriors or anti-warriors feel grossly inexperienced and sheltered — very much like children. Next to the real-life experiences of the battlefield hero, the ideal of “forever young” can feel tediously callow; next to the manifestation of maturity’s virtues (the same virtues the mainstream culture had deep-sixed by the 1960s), the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll ideal can seem downright tawdry. (p. 192)

What are “maturity’s virtues”? To the ancient Romans, the concept of virtus was closely aligned with masculinity; the word itself comes from the Latin vir, or “man.” Wikipedia notes that this understanding of virtue carried “connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths” and “was often divided into different qualities including prudentia (prudence), iustitia (justice), temperantia (temperance, self-control), and fortitudo (courage)”. Traditional masculinity, then, was about bravery, discipline, integrity and restraint. Those are the very ideals upon which Western Civilization was built.

That conception of what made good men continued all the way through the middle of the twentieth century, to an era when it was perhaps most closely embodied in the heroic cowboys portrayed by John Wayne. Wayne’s films, like those of his fellow silver-screen gunslingers, did not promote indiscriminate violence or rampant sexual conquest, as has often been alleged. As Ross Douthat argues,

[W]atch some famous Westerns from the pre-Peckinpah era: Do you regularly see characters bedding a steady stream of willing women while shooting their way to fame and fortune? Surely not as often as you see men, in the style of the lead characters in “High Noon” and “Shane,” reluctantly shouldering a burden of violence and paying a heavy moral price; not as often as you see men (including Wayne in several of his most iconic roles) who don’t get the girl, don’t get sexual fulfillment (not a major theme of the genre, to put it mildly) or the life of domesticity they want, precisely because of their identity as gunslingers and the obligations and/or sins that accompany that way of life.

This is not how manliness is portrayed today. In the years since “the Duke” rode off into the sunset, liberalism has attempted to destroy the concept of masculinity by ensnaring it in a no-win “catch-22”, one that has gradually undermined the adult male’s role in society. As West notes, the virtues that made up classically defined masculinity were “deep-sixed by the 1960s”; conceptions of self-restraint were upended by a relentless sexual revolution that endorsed the uninhibited freedom to express and attain one’s every desires. By removing the constraints that society had imposed, it created a generation of males increasingly focused on physicality and sexual exploration. The left’s crusade to obliterate censorship, and with it, any notions of public decency, has further led to an avalanche of every imaginable carnal delight, easily accessible to today’s young man from the near-anonymity of his laptop.

Meanwhile, as males have eagerly adopted liberalism’s sexual metamorphoses, they have been assaulted by other sectors of its cultural coalition. Men, encouraged to be hedonistic libertines by a society that discourages objective morality and promotes relativistic independence, are simultaneously attacked as base, overly-sexualized, aggressive and predatory. Even worse, the left has now, quite successfully, altered the very definition of “traditional masculinity,” securely affixing it to those adverse traits. All of this has left men unsure of their role in society, watching as the worst examples of their gender are held up as “typical” males, while their most heroic representatives are either diminished or called into question.

Nowhere has this assault on masculinity been more obvious than in the pages of Rolling Stone. As Jim Geraghty points out, the magazine has long been at the forefront of the countercultural revolution, regularly adorning its covers with images that glorify sex, violence and lurid combinations of the two. At the same time, it has attempted to act as a moral authority, writing articles harshly critical of traditionally masculine institutions like the military. Recently, Rolling Stone trained its eye on college-age males and the fraternity system. In an article entitled “A Rape on Campus”, Sabrina Rudin Erdely tells the story of Jackie, a student at the University of Virginia who claims to have been raped during her freshman year. The current junior alleges that, while attending a party at the Phi Kappa Psi frat house, she was lured into a pitch-black bedroom by her date, “Drew,” and sexually assaulted by seven men over the course of three hours:

“Shut up,” she heard a man’s voice say as a body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing through a low glass table. There was a heavy person on top of her, spreading open her thighs, and another person kneeling on her hair, hands pinning down her arms, sharp shards digging into her back, and excited male voices rising all around her. When yet another hand clamped over her mouth, Jackie bit it, and the hand became a fist that punched her in the face. The men surrounding her began to laugh. For a hopeful moment Jackie wondered if this wasn’t some collegiate prank. Perhaps at any second someone would flick on the lights and they’d return to the party.

“Grab its motherf***ing leg,” she heard a voice say. And that’s when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.

Upon emerging from the frat house disoriented and bleeding, Jackie phoned her closest friends seeking help:

“We have to get her to the hospital,” Randall said.

Their other two friends, however, weren’t convinced. “Is that such a good idea?” she recalls Cindy asking. “Her reputation will be shot for the next four years.” Andy seconded the opinion, adding that since he and Randall both planned to rush fraternities, they ought to think this through. The three friends launched into a heated discussion about the social price of reporting Jackie’s rape, while Jackie stood beside them, mute in her bloody dress, wishing only to go back to her dorm room and fall into a deep, forgetful sleep. Detached, Jackie listened as Cindy prevailed over the group: “She’s gonna be the girl who cried ‘rape,’ and we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.”

Upon its release last month, the article caused a furor at UVA, leading to an investigation into Phi Kappa Psi and a suspension of all Greek life on campus.

However, in recent weeks, evidence has emerged pointing to inaccuracies and apparent lies in Jackie’s version of events. Her friends have come forward to contest her account, saying that they did everything possible to help Jackie after she called them. While not disputing that something horrible may have happened to her that night, they also indicate that she did not appear to be bleeding when they arrived, and state that she originally claimed to have been forced into oral sex with five men, rather than intercourse with seven. Phi Kappa Psi, for its part, has denied that anyone matching “Drew’s” description has ever been a member of the fraternity, and has asserted that no party took place on the date in question.

Most damning is Rolling Stone’s admission that none of the alleged rapists were interviewed in the run-up to the article’s publication. While the magazine’s editor claims that this was done at Jackie’s request, and that Rolling Stone was simply “trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault,” it seems clear that little regard was given to the accused, whose guilt was simply assumed. Zerlina Maxwell of The Washington Post supports this rush to judgment in an article originally titled “No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims” (later softened by her editors to “generally believe”):

We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, U-Va. should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation. This is not a legal argument about what standards we should use in the courts; it’s a moral one, about what happens outside the legal system.

The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might defriend him on Facebook. In the case of Bill Cosby, we might have to stop watching his shows, consuming his books or buying tickets to his traveling stand-up routine. But false accusations are exceedingly rare, and errors can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.

In addition to outlandishly minimizing the effects of a rape allegation on the life of a falsely accused male (“friends might defriend him on Facebook”), Maxwell also sees perfect justification in upending one of the quintessential hallmarks of the civil society: the notion that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. And why does she feel comfortable in asserting that men should be stripped of this fundamental right? She, like many other feminists, believes that there is a “rape culture” permeating society, one where sexual violence is the norm and all men, not just the overtly evil ones, should be considered potential rapists. As Laurie Penny explains in The Independent, 

As a culture, we still refuse collectively to accept that most rapes are committed by ordinary men, men who have friends and families, men who may even have done great or admirable things with their lives. We refuse to accept that nice guys rape, and they do it often. Part of the reason we haven’t accepted it is that it’s a painful thing to contemplate – far easier to keep on believing that only evil men rape, only violent, psychotic men lurking in alleyways with pantomime-villain moustaches and knives, than to consider that rape might be something that ordinary men do. Men who might be our friends or colleagues or people we look up to. We don’t want that to be the case. Hell, I don’t want that to be the case. So, we all pretend it isn’t.

To advance their “rape culture” thesis, many feminists and their supporters have frequently cited a National Institute of Justice survey that found that 1 in 5 college women have been sexually assaulted. Among those who have repeated the study’s claims: no less than President Obama, who stated in January that, “It is estimated that 1 in 5 women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there — 1 in 5.” Joining him three months later was Vice-President Joe Biden, who lamented, “We know the numbers: one in five of every one of those young women who is dropped off for that first day of school, before they finish school, will be assaulted, will be assaulted in her college years.”

And yet, those numbers have long ago been discredited. Aside from relying on a small sample size, the dubious online study also paid respondents and featured broad questions that extended the definition of rape to “forced kissing.” Results, as Glenn Kessler notes in his “Fact Check” of the survey, “depend on how questions are phrased and answers interpreted.” The “1 in 5” number has also been contradicted by other, more detailed studies, most recently, by a report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. As The Federalist points out,  

The full study… found that rather than one in five female college students becoming victims of sexual assault, the actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or 0.61 percent (instead of 1-in-5, the real number is 0.03-in-5). For non-students, the rate of sexual assault is 7.6 per 1,000 people.

Additionally, that study indicates that the rate of rapes and sexual assaults has actually decreased as compared to the late 1990s.

And yet, neither statistical corrections nor admissions of journalistic malpractice have deterred liberal advocates. While some are willing to acknowledge the possibility that perhaps Jackie lied to Rolling Stone, the consensus from modern feminism is that any falsehoods in her account should not be used to disprove the “fact” of rape culture. As Rebecca Traister of The New Republic argues, doing so would allow people to forget “that there are plenty of real stories of rape: of violent rape, frat house rape, gang rape, date rape; that most rape accusers do not lie and that in fact it’s quite likely, statistically, that Jackie herself did not lie.” In other words, even if Jackie was being dishonest (not likely), even if there was no “Rape on Campus” at UVA, it’s important to acknowledge that rape is still pervasive.

And, not only is sexual assault omnipresent, but the focus must always be on the sole culpability of the male. Even in instances of so-called “grey rape,” where the lines between consent and denial become less evident, those who seek to assign any responsibility to the female involved merely expose themselves as “rape apologists” or “rape deniers” seeking to “blame the victim.” This has been taken to such an extreme that even those who simply endorse teaching women methods of self-defense, or encourage women to be more aware of their surroundings, have aroused feminism’s ire. Case in point: the controversy surrounding Undercover Colors, a creative innovation dreamed up by four (male) students at North Carolina State University. Designed to look like regular nail polish, their product actually contains chemicals that cause the wearer’s nail to change colors if it interacts with a date rape drug; thus, it allows a women to surreptitiously dip her finger in her drink, find out if her companion has sinister intentions and take proactive action to avoid a traumatic, perhaps deadly, experience. Surely, even in our highly-divided society, something so potentially beneficial would win universal approbation?

Not so, said feminism. Newsweek catalogued the responses:

Katie Russell from Rape Crisis England & Wales was critical of the idea, saying that the charity will not support the invention.

“Whilst Undercover Color’s initiative is well meaning, on the whole,” she said, “Rape Crisis does not endorse or promote such a product or anything similar. This is for three reasons: it implies that it’s the woman’s fault and assumes responsibility on her behalf, and detracts from the real issues that arise from sexual violence.”

“For us, we work with victims to make them realise that they did nothing wrong,” she added. “Among primary cases, some do ask if they could have done anything to stop it. Products like this suggest otherwise. The emphasis must be placed 100% on the perpetrator.

Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti has also criticised such products, writing in her column this week: “Prevention tips or products that focus on what women do or wear aren’t just ineffective, they leave room for victim-blaming when those steps aren’t taken.” [my emphasis]

Even a product that might save a woman’s life is criticized by the so-called defenders of women’s rights, simply because it takes sole focus away from the ubiquitous male predator. Meanwhile, statistics are inflated and apparent lies are dismissed, all to support the “rape culture” narrative. Why? If anything, assigning blame to all of society would seem to excuse individual conduct: rather than consciously engaging in an evil act, the rapist is simply giving in to the incessant programming he has received from an over-sexualized, patriarchal milieu. It would appear that there is far more at stake here than simply preventing women from being assaulted; for, if that was the goal, a product like Undercover Colors would surely be celebrated.

And there is: What feminism, a particularly grotesque head on the hydra known as liberalism, is seeking is the eradication of the popular conception of the male. The strong-willed male, the confident, assertive male has been found guilty of all of the world’s ills. Zeus, refusing to live side by side with the mighty Hera, has cast her from the kingdom, has erected a glass ceiling around his Olympian boys’ club, and has hurled an unceasing arsenal of misogyny and violence at the goddess like so many lightning bolts. He must be broken. He must be overthrown and he must be humbled at the throne of his new female master. As Milo Yiannopoulous writes in a Breitbart article entitled “The Sexodus”,

Never before in history have relations between the sexes been so fraught with anxiety, animosity and misunderstanding. To radical feminists, who have been the driving force behind many tectonic societal shifts in recent decades, that’s a sign of success: they want to tear down the institutions and power structures that underpin society, never mind the fall-out. Nihilistic destruction is part of their road map.

And what is the end result of this major offensive?

Social commentators, journalists, academics, scientists and young men themselves have all spotted the trend: among men of about 15 to 30 years old, ever-increasing numbers are checking out of society altogether, giving up on women, sex and relationships and retreating into pornography, sexual fetishes, chemical addictions, video games and, in some cases, boorish lad culture, all of which insulate them from a hostile, debilitating social environment created, some argue, by the modern feminist movement.

This sounds very much like the perpetual adolescent that Diana West describes: the puerile, soft, pathetic individual who has come to replace the square-jawed, masculine heroes of old. This chemically-addled, porn-crazed gamer will certainly pose no threat to his “forever young” peers.

He is also pretty useless when it comes to fighting a war, which, as much of its populace seems to routinely forget, this nation is presently doing. Not simply any war, but a conflict against what may be its most dangerous foe yet: a stateless enemy that blends in with the civilian population, does not fear death and hides behind the very freedoms our country espouses and uses them to its advantage. It is an adversary that we are woefully unprepared for, and one that becomes increasingly more dangerous as society unravels the traditional conception of masculinity.

Make no mistake: whether Jackie was telling lies, the truth or some mixture of the two, rape on college campuses is very real and must be dealt with seriously. But by overstating the problem, by falsely creating, even wishing for, an epidemic of predatory behavior, liberal doctrine casts a pall on all males and effectively neuters entire generations of sons. By twisting even a poorly-timed attempt at a kiss into an attempted assault, such attitudes create reticent men, and help sap Western Civilization of the traits it has historically heralded and relied upon. That becomes deadly when the culture war, as West describes it, moves out classrooms and boardrooms and into actual battlefields. Such a cultural shift must be reversed.

To be clear: this is not intended as a paean to misogyny, or an appeal to the sexism of yesteryear; rather, it is a celebration of the Roman virtus, of the attributes of strength, courage, boldness, self-restraint and valor that have traditionally been associated with masculinity, but which can, and must, take root in members of either sex. The leaders of eras past were guided by these unshakeable ideals, and they created a civilization that shook the world. They shouldered the burden of responsibility, made the difficult choices, and accepted the consequences. In roughly seven decades, we have undone those foundational notions and annihilated the bedrocks that were carefully put in place over thousands of years. We have, in short, gone from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. In the 1940s, Harry Truman oversaw a war in Japan that threatened to drag on for years, a conflict that everyone predicted would claim many more American lives. He knew that he had the power to end it, but that such an abrupt end using so awesome a power would result in great civilian casualties. He dropped the bomb because he believed that the virtues that his nation was fighting for were right, and needed to prevail. Contrast that with our current president, who beat a hasty retreat from Iraq because he believed it would hurt his poll numbers, and now prevails upon the media to assign blame elsewhere. It is the age of the Benjamin Button presidency: the journey from adulthood to childhood is complete.

The consequences of this devolution are severe and lasting. When we have withdrawn from that which is hard, we seek to make every facet of life more simplistic. When guiding virtue is eradicated, we eliminate nuance and seek to view the world in basic contrasts. We attempt to solve problems in the easiest manner possible: Schools are failing? Throw more money at them. People are poor? Offer more entitlements. Our immigration system is broken? Let millions stay. Similarly, the reaction to the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri: an “unarmed” man is the victim; his killer is a monster. It does not matter if the “victim” robbed a store, bullied its owner, punched a police officer, attempted to grab his gun and charged at him with malicious intent. He was unarmed. It is irrelevant that the “monster” volunteered for the heroic, regularly putting himself in mortal danger, willingly marching into areas where others fear to tread, and regularly running headlong into situations where he might lose his life. He killed the unarmed man. In a world where we shun responsibility, Michael Brown’s fate was unavoidable; he was a victim of the system, assassinated by “institutional racism” rather than killed due to his own actions. In a society where warriors are a threat, Officer Darren Wilson, and cops nationwide, become part of a cabal of murderers, on the hunt for young black prey. In a culture where solutions are difficult, protestors express their anger at entire constructs without offering any real answers, and interrupt “die-ins” to send out a Tweet. The adolescent reigns supreme; the adults have exited stage left (at least the females have — the men have been forcibly shoved off the stage.)

This paradigm also provides a useful perspective for examining the report, issued last week by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, concerning the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. As conservative commentators have noted, the release, like Sabrina Rudin Erdely’s Rolling Stone piece, was notable for what it lacked: specifically, any sort of retort from the individuals accused of committing, and abetting, the heinous acts contained therein. Those men, including Jose Rodriguez, the Clandestine Service Chief in charge of the program, and three different CIA Directors (George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden), all attest to its value in unlocking the secrets of al Qaeda’s network. Disputing the report’s claims that the intelligence gathered was either useless, false or had already been obtained through other methods, they contend that it played an integral role in preventing further attacks and compromising high-level targets. One example of this, detailed by Ian Tuttle in National Review, is the way in which enhanced interrogation highlighted the importance of Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, the courier who eventually led analysts to Osama bin Laden:

According to the minority report, the information about al-Kuwaiti acquired in 2002 “sat unnoticed in a CIA database for five years” because “that intelligence was insufficient to distinguish Abu Ahmad from many other Bin Ladin associates until additional information from detainees put it into context and allowed us to better understand his true role and potential in the hunt for Bin Ladin.” So the CIA wrote in its June 2013 response to the majority report.

In 2012, the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, in its Lessons from the Hunt for Usama Bin Ladin, called information about al-Kuwaiti “an unnoticed needle in the haystack on an unending plain of haystacks.” It was only in 2007 that earlier information acquired significance, “after detainee reporting provided enough information about the courier that a search of old records illuminated key information.” One CIA analyst had long deemed the early information “meaningless” — until detainee intelligence indicated that it was, in fact, quite meaningful.

Such successes were omitted from the Democrats’ report. Also missing was the context: the enhanced interrogation program was created, from scratch, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, designed to provide intelligence about a new type of enemy we knew shockingly little about. While mistakes were clearly made, most notably, those resulting in the deaths of two detainees, an entire nation, including congressional Democrats, was urging the CIA, in the weeks, months and years following the attack, to do all it could to keep America safe. As even Jay Rockefeller, the liberal senator from West Virginia, noted after the capture of terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “I’m sure we’ll be proper with him, but I’m sure we’ll be very, very tough with him.” Everyone expected the CIA to take actions that it would not have considered before. All of that has conveniently been forgotten in the years since September 11, 2001, and all of it was left out of the intelligence report.

Finally, as the former Democratic senator from Nebraska, Bob Kerrey, noted in an op-ed,

The worst consequence of a partisan report can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations. This is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity. Our intelligence personnel, who are once again on the front lines fighting the Islamic State terror group, need guidance from Congress. Remarkably, this report contains none.

Like the feminists who promote misleading statistics and oppose innovations that may be beneficial in order to advance a narrative, so the Senate Democrats are cynically pushing an agenda with the release of this report. If their purpose was truly to offer something that would be helpful moving forward, they would have generated an honest assessment, one which interviewed the key players involved, acknowledged the programs successes alongside its failures and offered suggestions for future intelligence gathering. They did none of that. What they presented instead was a hatchet job, designed to undermine the strength of the world’s lone superpower and to undercut the heroes who made the difficult decisions in the wake of 9/11.

And, yes: those involved in the enhanced interrogation program were heroes. Reacting to an unparalleled crisis, they did what they felt was necessary to keep their nation secure. While their methods are open to honest debate, their intentions were noble and should not be questioned. These men, from President Bush, to Tenet, Goss and Hayden, to Rodriguez and his interrogators, were not sadists, but men racing to defuse a ticking bomb. They made the tough choices, the unpopular choices, and did what they felt was right for the safety and security of the country. In short, they acted with virtus, like the policemen, firefighters and paramedics who responded on 9/11, or the troops who volunteered for battle in the days following. For that, they have come under assault.

For that, they have become the target of a threatened, simplistic, adolescent mindset. By perpetually chopping away at the nation’s authority, and its authority figures, by eroding the traditional masculine virtues, this liberal, “forever young”, “sex, drugs ‘n’ roll” crowd has left our culture in a weakened position. This is Diana West’s closing argument: In a society where the males have been emasculated, where the grown up is dead, where there is no one left to make the hard choices, we will always opt for the easy way out, even in the battle against an aggressive, Islamic foe. We will imagine that our opponent is isolated to small pockets of “extremists”, operating under the narrow banners of “ISIS” or “al Qaeda.” We will retain hope in the “moderates” who will help us turn the tide, and we will keep our faith that the seeds of democracy we have planted in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gaza Strip will eventually bear fruit. All the while, we will look the other way as our European brethren bemoan the loss of city after city to “Islamization” and the encroachment of sharia.

But what if these multicultural hopes are merely naive flights of fancy? What if the enemy we face is far larger, and far more determined, than we realize? What if the moderates in whom we have placed our faith have been far too cowed to ever rise up? What if our democracies fail to produce allies, and the very tolerance we espouse allows the intolerant to overrun our cities? What if such an onslaught is every bit the existential threat that our most fearful prognosticators have claimed?

Who will stand and fight when all of the fight has gone out of us?

Who will win our wars when we have chased away the warriors?

Who will man the ramparts when all the men are gone?