You have to spend portions of your life in a socialist country to really understand why safety is a problem for men. Safety from individual responsibility. Safety from taking individual initiatives. Safety from the consequences of those initiatives. Having lived all my life in Sweden, the most "progressive" of all Scandinavian countries, I've seen what welfare-ism can do to people's psychology, and to men in particular. Here is why Americans should listen, and worry.
The idea appeals to all liberal leftists: if we can spare people from nasty consequences of their actions, we'll do it. It's another good-sounding meme that on the surface wants to protect, but ends up hurting people. Plato illustrates this in the Republic through a man called Gyges, who discovers a ring making him invisible. Being invisible, Gyges realizes he can commit crimes without ever facing the consequences of his actions. As a consequence, Plato argues, Gyges will be morally corrupt as long as he is not a public figure.
Plato emphasizes the public sphere because everything that is public can be accounted for. The problem today is that even if we recognize the actions of people, we assume someone else is facing the consequences: the government, parents, co-workers, boss, whatever. It's pretty clear that people are willing to take greater risks when someone else faces the consequences of those risks. This is particularly destructive to the morality of men, who often take greater risks and chances than women, and therefore become more corrupt.
Here is how we morally destroy the character of men. It starts when we're just boys and we demand our parents buy the toys we see on television, serve us the food we want at any moment, and satisfy our every emotional demand as long as we yell loud enough. We learn as children that we can pretty much bully people around and get away with it. And parents, too afraid of what'd happen if they resisted or too lazy to even care, shrug and pay the dues. By doing so they breed a form of self-centered recklessness that damages the self-image and self-discipline of their children.
The same behavior is enhanced in public schools, where teachers have given up their role as authorities and instead try to be friends with everyone, by congratulating the simplest of performances and mindlessly handing out grades to boost the school's image. Teenage boys learn that self-discipline and self-responsibility is for losers. Someone else accounts for what you do. The problem is that at this point they have no longer anything to be proud of. What's there to be proud about when someone else is babysitting every work you do? In reality, you're still a baby—an adolescent.
Here we reach the real meat of the story, and an explanation to why young men ("guys") live at home until they're 30, wait to have a family until they're 35, and remain economically dependent upon either parents or governments until they're 40. They haven't been taught to recognize an important task, do it, and face any consequences of that work. They're used to following instructions by someone else, rely on other people to help achieve those instructions, and then wait for a public figure to appear and save the day. It's kindergarten in all stages of life. In Sweden parents following this module are called "curling parents"; they curl their children all the way across the goal line.
The antidote is fortunately very simple, and very effective. Let them fail. It's the cry of a New Right in Europe, and increasingly also in America. When people learn failure as a consequence of their actions, to begin to think in terms of choices. They can choose a different path. Teenagers who waste their school years on pot and video games do it because they can. Because parents and teachers try to set things right anyway, regardless. Young men aimlessly go through college without worrying about future prospects for a job, because there's always a social policy saving them from going broke. Young men behave like idiots because their authorities are cowards. Safety-ism and welfare-ism is a form of organized cowardice, and young men are their greatest victims.
Let them fail. And return to life with a different perspective. We can take charge of our lives again and be responsible men, caring for ourselves, our women, our children and our communities. But we need to learn the hard lesson: you need to do good, because it avoids most of what's bad. Those who seek bad have damaged their choice process, because somewhere along the way someone else made that choice for them. That time is now over. Let us fail, and let us win. We deserve it.