Smith wrote "Toxic Femininity" some days (which is an eternity in news-cycle time) after the whole Covington debacle. Instead of adding to the voices of righteous indignation at the mistreatment of the boys, Smith took a different tack and remarked more generally about the lack of maturity among boys. In other words, the problem isn't an excess of masculinity, but a lack of it. He encourages parents and teachers to help young men grow into responsible adults. All good stuff, but rather facile in light of today's climate.
The followup does some justice to this topic by quoting at length a mother who took issue with Smith's first article. She talks about the growing prejudice against boys in today's world. Their feelings aren't spared, and people now assume the worst. Boys grow up hearing how bad they are, and little attempt is made to love them and help them grow up. Redoubling on the lifelong nagging--which is what our treatment of boys and young men amount to--will only make the problem worse. What boys need most, along with everyone else, is love.
As is typical for Joy, her article is heavily sourced, witty, and comprehensive. She brings up the great promise of progressive politicians, universal daycare, and takes it apart, explaining with truckloads of data the forgotten truth that small children need their mothers. The state that tries to rip babies from their mothers in the name of "helping them" have no logical leg to stand on and no reliable evidence to cite. I'm sure that won't stop them from labeling Joy as an anti-woman extremist--let's hope they lay off and see reason, for once.
Though she steers clear of personal experience, it should be known that Joy practices what she preaches, raising five (I think?) children of her own. All the while, she writes awesome articles and fields annoying emails and submissions from me and the other writers here at The Everyman. Pretty impressive.
More and more, I find myself sympathizing with the populist brand of conservatism. It's more appropriate to call it distributism, but then most people wouldn't know what I'm talking about. What I mean is a conservatism that focuses on the good of church and family, not only in protecting its rights, but in creating a culture and economy conducive to strong healthy families and churches.
I'm still trying to figure out how democracy and free-market capitalism figure into this. In some ways, these systems seem to benefit church and family by optimizing freedom and wealth. In other ways, these systems seem to disrupt and endanger families through feeding big states and big businesses. I'm not sure if there is a perfect balance to be sought, or if a new system altogether needs to be established.
Carlson--who, in my opinion is reading Chesterton on the sly--actually speaks out on this. It upsets conservatives and progressives alike, who have thrown their support behind one elite versus the other. This was around the time Carlson made his famous monologue denouncing the elite who couldn't care less about the plight of normal Americans.
What was supposed to be a friendly interview quickly turns into a debate, and it's very informative. Carlson holds his own against Shapiro, simply pointing out the tradeoffs made when companies and governments prioritize profits over people. This is a serious issue that conservatives like Shapiro tend to glibly explain away as the necessary byproduct of capitalistic innovation. Much as I love wealth-creation and new stuff, I think it's probably wise to heed Carlson's objections and find ways to subordinate this to church and family.