Man Without a Chest
We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful. –C.S. Lewis
The problem with biologists is that they seek to reduce everything to simple biology. They conflate purpose with function and then redefine truth such that it comports with their political leanings.
MAMMALS are named after their defining characteristic, the glands capable of sustaining a life for years after birth – glands that are functional only in the female. And yet while the term “mammal” is based on an objective analysis of shared traits, the genus name for human beings, Homo, reflects an 18th-century masculine bias in science.
That bias, however, is becoming harder to sustain, as men become less relevant to both reproduction and parenting. Women aren’t just becoming men’s equals. It’s increasingly clear that “mankind” itself is a gross misnomer: an uninterrupted, intimate and essential maternal connection defines our species.
Where I live there are lots of varmints, critters, and other general fauna. At first it was cute, but now that they’ve added the artificial insemination clinic, the nutria population is out of control. Nutria are not men, they are instead horrible giant semi-aquatic rats that my dogs enjoy killing and giving to me, but they do offer an example. Chiefly, mankind is different because of men. Nutria don’t have clinics and they do often suffer death by dog. On the upside, they don’t have the ability to spout off nonsense.
With expanding reproductive choices, we can expect to see more women choose to reproduce without men entirely. Fortunately, the data for children raised by only females is encouraging. As the Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan has shown, poverty is what hurts children, not the number or gender of parents.
That’s good, since women are both necessary and sufficient for reproduction, and men are neither. From the production of the first cell (egg) to the development of the fetus and the birth and breast-feeding of the child, fathers can be absent. They can be at work, at home, in prison or at war, living or dead.
It’s not the lack of fathers, it’s the poverty. Hmmm, what’s a good predictor of poverty? I’m sure some more Headstart, free lunches, and grass huts will ameliorate the disparities. As to the second asinine proposition in the preceding paragraphs, unless God is Himself going to aid the geldings by endowing all women with the ability to enjoy at-will immaculate conception, mankind still needs sperm.
Ultimately the question is, does “mankind” really need men? With human cloning technology just around the corner and enough frozen sperm in the world to already populate many generations, perhaps we should perform a cost-benefit analysis.
It’s true that men have traditionally been the breadwinners. But women have been a majority of college graduates since the 1980s, and their numbers are growing. It’s also true that men have, on average, a bit more muscle mass than women. But in the age of ubiquitous weapons, the one with the better firepower (and knowledge of the law) triumphs.
Meanwhile women live longer, are healthier and are far less likely to commit a violent offense. If men were cars, who would buy the model that doesn’t last as long, is given to lethal incidents and ends up impounded more often?
Another problem with biologists is they tend to keep their craniums firmly ensconced within their own derrieres. Perhaps I am being unfair and generalizing, but life is unfair, it’s a biological fact, and I follow Hammurabi’s Code when it comes to generalizations.
The only reason we are able to debate ridiculous hypotheticals about the value of men is because of men. The only reason we do debate the value of men is because some things that walk around with twigs and berries have been so beaten and emasculated by the Zeitgeist that they’ve become ashamed of their own biology. Thus they dash headlong through a looking glass to a brave new world in which men are unnecessary because men rendered themselves unnecessary.
Recently, the geneticist J. Craig Venter showed that the entire genetic material of an organism can be synthesized by a machine and then put into what he called an “artificial cell.” This was actually a bit of press-release hyperbole: Mr. Venter started with a fully functional cell, then swapped out its DNA. In doing so, he unwittingly demonstrated that the female component of sexual reproduction, the egg cell, cannot be manufactured, but the male can.
When I explained this to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
Gentlemen, let’s hope that’s enough.
Unless J. Craig Venter is a woman, the above disproves itself. If you have to ask why, you might be a partisan masquerading as a scientist.
Finally, there are the issues of complementarity, of two becoming one, of men with chests and virtue who embody noblesse oblige. And if that isn’t your thing, if being a theologian at the top of the mountain awaiting the scientist doesn’t interest you, never forget the purple saguaro. Natural desire is both a powerful demiurge and an inescapable perpetual motion machine.