Jack’s does a respectful job at taking a close look at manhood on the biological level but follows the all-too common trend of humans-are-just-mammals conceptualizing. He’s right about a number of issues such as the Men’s Rights Movement being an anger-driven movement that is no better than feminism. But he takes the reader down the yellow brick road of amoral thought which only ever leads to a depressing place. For him manhood is neither good nor evil, moral nor immoral. Too many people think amoral thought is the holy grail of understanding everything. And yet, it leads me to understand nothing. If everything is just a construction of the mind then what is it really, truly? Nothing!
It’s notable that he hits all the right touch-points characteristic of traditional manhood–courage, strength, mastery, honor, and brotherhood (which he refers to as gangs). But the work is shallow and premature. He has found something he likes and is looking for sources to back it up. He tries to be honest, but a truly honest work starts with sources (from all biases) first, and then draws conclusions second. For a great example, see the book Manliness by Harvey C. Mansfield.
Overall there is major confusion in his thesis. For him, the Viking tribes who fashioned their own honor-systems based around killing innocent people, raping women, and pillaging towns was manly. He even admits that he considers suicide bombers and hijackers manly.
“If I’m being honest with myself, I can’t call those guys unmanly.” (p. 71)
He argues that we are merely flattering ourselves by calling such people cowardly. So, is it unmanly to call another a coward then? Or, should I greet terrorists with a respectful bow before I best them?
But I get this. He has reduced manhood to an incredibly cheap amoralistic device, nothing more. He believes that honor can be “morphed into anything” (p. 53). He writes a chapter entitled On Being a Good Man in which he argues that there is essentially no such thing as a good man. One man’s coward is another man’s honored warrior apparently.
When you start reading a paper or study on something and it begins by saying “humans are mammals” it is essentially informing you that you are about to be transported to level sub-standard of what you think you are at—a level barely more significant than dirt. It’s a call down. Get the hell off that high and lofty seat, you’re just trash trying to survive. That’s why it makes no sense. How can humans be mammals? Can mammals be humans?
Deconstructionism can only ever lead to the dirt. If that’s what you so desire, then don’t get angry at me for referring to you as a worthless piece of dirt. You brought it on yourself.
But where did human and humanity come from? They came from a belief in a Creator God as held by indigenous and tribal religions the world over. These were most vividly represented in the early Judeo-Christian tribal religions that elevated the individual’s worth without respect to race, sex, color, or ethnicity to immeasurable value. The early Judeo-Christians taught that these differences were a part of our very humanity and thus meant to be embraced and let to shine. They called us up. Yes, mammals and humans both have arms and legs and eyeballs. But mammals are not offspring of God. Come and rise to your rightful place, you are better than that. Civilization is built on this.
As “stupid” as we say primitive people were, they always seemed at the very least to understand that they were not beasts. They could look at a dog eating its crap and intelligently recognize, they were not that.
This book feels like a doomsday book where the only thing that matters at the end of the day is your survival as an animal. The front cover art seems to even depict that feeling. Makes me think of Nebuchadnezzar from the Book of Daniel who completely lost his sense of reason and became just like an animal:
He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. (Dan. 4:33)
How fitting of our time. Civilization is crumbling as we know it.