Bill Bennett decided to weigh in on the Aurora shootings and accompanying heroics, using a Hanna Rosin article as his reference point. Bennett gets it totally wrong on a number of points, which is about what you’d expect from a guy who relies on feminists to divine the motivations of young men.
First, he talks about what the men who died “believed.” I don’t think people have time to examine their beliefs when confronted by a man with an assault rifle in a crowded, dark theater. In these situations, you don’t think so much as act. The young men who shielded their girlfriends were simply doing what came naturally to them. One man, a guy who ran for it, had different instincts. However, if you asked him what he “believed,” he may well have given the same answer as the dead men. Beliefs don’t count for much in times of crisis, which I suppose is the root of the saying “there are no atheists in foxholes.”
Here’s what Bennett says about “belief”:
As Hanna Rosin so eloquently pointed out in a recent article, calling it chivalry would be a tremendous understatement. By all appearances, these men believed that a man has a responsibility to protect a woman, even to the point of death. They believed that there are things in life worth dying for and the innocent woman sitting next to them was one.
They believed, to put it simply, in a code of honor. They put the lives of the women before their own, an old fashioned notion to be sure, but certainly an honorable one (if you have any doubt, ask the survivors)…
Old fashioned my ass. Take a look at Matt McQuinn (on the right), the Celtic American with the lip rings and earplugs. That young man was no fuddy duddy who ascribed to Bill Bennett’s Victorian sense of propriety. No, he’s a modern-day example of the Gaelic warriors who have earned a reputation over the ages for their scorn for death and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. In other words, it was in his blood, and Bennett insults him in suggesting otherwise.
The same applies to the other young men. They were solid men; the kind that families and communities have always relied on when the going gets tough. It wasn’t because they held some belief or political position, it was because they were men that they acted as they did. It is simply what men do, and that’s why they deserve honor, which Bennett is incapable of bestowing on anyone.
No, instead of honoring these men, Bennett continues to measure them according to their utility to women:
After his death we learned that Blunk had an ex-wife and two children living in Nevada. He was scheduled to visit them to resolve marital issues. This isn’t to take anything away from Blunk or the other two heroes, but to illustrate that, in spite of shortcomings, men can still recognize what it means to be a good man and act like one.
This above words illustrate exactly what’s wrong with the attitude in regards to men in our culture. Bennett suggests that because the man is separated from his ex – through no fault of his own for all we know – he must be flawed. And then, of course, he redeems himself by being useful to a woman — by taking a bullet.
The implication is that women have inherent value, but men do not. This is a cultural issue, and one of the greatest flaws of our society. I’ve been all over Europe and Asia, and only in the Anglo world are men considered to have value only in their utility, like so many tools. It is a toxic attitude, and explains why our women have such contempt for our men. If a man has no inherent value, how could a woman ever love him when he is not providing her some material benefit? Of course, this is not really why women love men, either, so it leads to all sorts of dysfunction and unhappiness in our women, who can’t understand why they don’t love the men in their lives simply for being “useful.”
These people have it backwards. Men are not men because they are useful to others; rather, they have value because they are men. If it were only for our utility that we were men, then why couldn’t a donkey be a man? How about a machine?
More from Bennett:
This is especially important given the state of many men today. Record numbers of men aren’t working or even looking for work. Record numbers aren’t marrying or even acting as fathers to their children. These men need heroes to imitate whom they can relate to in everyday life, not just make-believe superheroes who catch their imagination for an hour or two. They need heroes like the Aurora three.
While much of the media obsesses over the psychology and motivations of this deranged killer, we should hold the Aurora three high. It is only by telling their story that this code of honor will survive for future generations of men.
How are these three any different from the “record numbers” of men Bennett refers to? As Hanna Rosin suggests, Blunk was kind of a loser who couldn’t support his family:
On the Today show interview, Jansen Young, the girlfriend Blunk saved, mentioned that Jonathan was thinking about re-enlisting in the Navy. She attributed that to his undying heroism, but it may also have to do with the fact that he, like a few guys in the theater, was working at Target and surely not making enough money to support one family, much less two. Young, meanwhile, had just finished getting her veterinarian degree, becoming the latest in an onslaught of women who have taken over that lucrative profession, which was not very long ago dominated by men.
These young men who died are the same ones Bill Bennett and Hanna Rosin denounce so regularly, so she is surprised that they would still act as they did. I suspect that Rosin simply sees masculinity as a set of credentials, and when men act according to their nature without going through a “man school” or something like it, she simply can’t fathom it.
This is really what feminists like Rosin and Bennett don’t understand. Men do not need to be taught or pushed to be men. They do not need to be shamed or cajoled into it. It is simply what they are, and it is a glorious thing.