“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
There are various afflictions plaguing the modern West. We can’t win wars. Our economies are growing sluggishly, if they grow at all. The heartlands of once-great nations are vanishing and being replaced with drug-ridden slums. Huge proportions of the population in many nations is obese. Sexual degeneracy is on the rise and rape, one of the worst and most violating of crimes, is a major issue. Cities once known for their beauty and culture are now derided as locals infested with crime, homelessness, and ugly architecture. What passes for “culture” is generally anti-Western, anti-civilization trash that’s a far cry from Bach and Wagner.
In situation after situation, we see decay.
Patriotism is present in some communities but has all but vanished in others.
Nations once known for their martial prowess are now unable (or perhaps unwilling, more on that later) to field even the most basic of militaries; look at Germany and the UK if you need an example.
The average citizen is also hardly a spitting image of his ancestors. Whether he’s out of shape, unadventurous, denigrates liberty, or bitter and sniveling (or, more likely, some combination of all those ignoble qualities), he’s not exactly the famous British sailor, Prussian infantryman, or French Curaissier that the best of his ancestors hoped to become. Whereas Churchill spent his youth adventuring in the Hindu Kush, Cuba, and British Africa, the most prized occupation for modern man is a career of dubious societal worth in “finance.”
There are (somewhat) benign reasons for those changes, of course.
Society has grown more peaceful, on a general scale, since the great powers created nuclear weapons with the power to end civilization, or at least what’s left of it.
The economies of Western nations have financialized, so working in investment banking is more lucrative and a seemingly smarter decision than running a small business or being somewhat adventurous.
Even obesity might not be the result of a lack of willpower, but rather because of chemicals like PFAS and lithium in our food and water. With those factors in mind, along with the many other general trends that don’t relate to character, it’s no real surprise that the typical person whose career path is most praised by society is the overweight and uncurious banker or consultant rather than fit, interesting soldier, titan of industry, or renaissance man that we remember those who lived in the Victorian Age as.
Churchill, Rockefeller, and Edison have been replaced by McChrystal and Klaus Schwab and when you look at societal trends, that’s hardly surprising if still disappointing.
But there’s more to it than general trends. The economy has financialized, but why? The military is no longer what it once was, but why? People are less interesting than they once were, but why? It can’t just be that Reagan deregulated the financial sector, that the Fed is printing money faster than we can imagine, and that wars changed with World War I. There’s something else there.
That “something” is that we’ve created a society of men without chests.
From the earliest age, boys are taught to not be boys. They’re told that fighting is wrong, that they should question the virtues that our society is premised on but not their leftist teachers, that being disagreeable is the greatest of sins (other than when dealing with conservatives, of course), and that the best thing they can strive to be is yet another brick in the wall, preferably of the Wall St. wall.
They’re not taught virtue, are told to value money over character, and aren’t enterprising. Everything is about money and conformity rather than character, foresight, and principles.
As Ayn Rand put it in two parts of Atlas Shrugged:
“They told us that this plan would achieve a noble ideal. Well, how were we to know otherwise? Hadn’t we heard it all our lives—from our parents and our schoolteachers and our ministers, and in every newspaper we ever read and every movie and every public speech?”
“From the first catch-phrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness. ‘Don’t ask so many questions, children should be seen and not heard!’–’Who are you to think? It’s so, because I say so!’–’Don’t argue, obey!’–’Don’t try to understand, believe!’–’Don’t rebel, adjust!–’Don’t stand out, belong!’–’Don’t struggle, compromise!’–’Your heart is more important than your mind!’–’Who are you to know? Your parents know best!’–’Who are you to know? Society knows best!’–’Who are you to know? The bureaucrats know best!’–’Who are you to object? All values are relative!’–’Who are you to want to escape a thug’s bullet? That’s only a personal prejudice!'”
We’ve created a society of men without chests and are reaping the whirlwind.
And what is that whirlwind? One of societal decay. It’s replaced what was once golden with pervasive gray nothingness.
Gone are the adventurers, that spirit was lectured out of them by the feminazis and teachers that took advantage of their labile minds.
Gone are the industrial titans, they’re busy with “ESG consulting” and selling junk bonds to unwitting consumers.
Gone are the men of talent, industry, and virtue, they’ve been replaced with the metrosexual soy boys and the “I’m with Her” professional class.
Why has the martial class disappeared? Why can European states once known for their prowess on the waves and on the battlefield no longer field an army worth a damn?
Because, like the Romans before them, they’ve grown soft in their prosperity and their chests have disappeared.
Even those who would join and fight don’t, especially in America, because the militaries themselves have gone soft and would now rather indoctrinate than fight. Unless present conditions change, we won’t have another Patton, another Admiral Nelson, or another von Moltke because such men will have either been too disgusted to join the military or so martial and nationalistic that they were drummed out of the service for being “right-wing radicals.”
And even in this society of pervasive vice, we’ve somehow done away with the manly vices!
Churchill once said of Labour politician Stafford Cripps, “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” Does that not remind you of the men without chests of this sad modern era?
Gone are the cigar-puffing cavalrymen, the whisky-swilling frontiersmen, the martini drinking “Mad Men,” and the unpleasant but brilliant academics and inventors. They’ve been replaced with a gray mush that’s pleasant enough when allowed to sip their chai latte in peace but is unassertive, uninteresting, and hasn’t ever lifted a weight.
The only vice we’ve retained is the path of Cassanova, but the hookup culture of today hardly compares to the bright light of romance in those better times.
If our society is to escape its death throes and miraculously recover, that will only happen because we’ve brought back men with chests. Pride, honor, dignity, strength (both of muscle and character), and adventurousness must be taught in our schools. Boys must be encouraged to fight rather than “talk it out.” Their fathers should teach them to be flirtatious without being cads, to be physically dominant without being bullies, to be heroes that stay on the solar path. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck with men without chests and society will continue sinking into that peaceful and wealthy but uninteresting and unappetizing gray that it is rapidly becoming.
Boris Yeltsin once said “A man must live like a great brilliant flame and burn as brightly as he can. In the end he burns out. But this is far better than a mean little flame.”
That’s the mentality we must recover. Yes, it’s the dangerous path. Yes, it’s less pleasant. But it’s the path of glory. It’s the path of men with chests.