If the 1976 western The Last Hard Men has it right, we Occidentals metamorphosed into jellyfish sometime around the early twentieth century. Although this title is more movie marketing than historical statement, there may be something to it. After all, Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant general in the British Army, was motivated by the belief that western boys were becoming too soft when he originated the Boy Scouts in 1907.
Regardless of the origin and rapidity of our transition from he-men to she-men, one thing is for certain: We have become a very soft people.
When pondering this, I think about how it is now common to see men cry publicly. Just recently George Bush Sr. broke down while rendering a speech, something unthinkable a generation ago. Why, presidential aspirant Edmund Muskie saw his campaign scuttled by a few inopportune tears in 1972. Before you score me for not embracing the metrosexual model, remember the impression this gives the rest of the world. Feminization may be fashionable, but it doesn’t engender respect among the more patriarchal peoples.
Then I think about our unwillingness to discipline our children, something to which our jungle-like schools bear witness. Should someone use punitive measures harsher than the euphemistically named “time-out” – something that may actually work – he is often excoriated for damaging the little darlings’ “self-esteem.”
A spanking? Perish the thought. We’re told this could scar a child irreparably (although we seldom ponder the ravages of pickling a young brain with Ritalin), and the idea is so foreign to many parents they cannot even conceive of placing a hand on their cherubim’s sanctified little posteriors.
In contrast, the people of the Third World – and especially the Moslem fanatics who have designs on the West – are hard as stone. We fret over the fact that Saddam Hussein endured some taunts during his execution, while next door in Saudi Arabia they may still chop off the hand of a thief.
We cater to the religious wants of incarcerated terrorists, providing everything from the Koran and prayer rugs to desired foods, and the soft set still laments the terrible privation these poor victims must endure. In contrast, the terrorist’s brethren often disallow the practice of other religions in the Abode of Islam.
We let illegal aliens run roughshod over our nation, sometimes bestowing government benefits upon them, then still feel guilty about not exalting them sufficiently. In the Third World, however, foreigners are often treated like second-class citizens.