The 5 Switches of Manliness: Provide

by Brett on June 20, 2011 · 35 comments

in A Man's Life, On Manhood

“A man should be a good provider.”

We’ve all heard this phrase before; it remains common even in our modern society. When someone says that a man should be a good provider, what they invariably mean is that he should have a good job that earns a steady income, one which enables him to provide food, shelter, and the nice things in life to his family.

This definition of being a provider is well-ingrained in our society and in the male psyche. In fact, when men lose a job, and thus their identity as a provider, they tend to get very anxious and depressed.

So earning a good income–is that what’s involved in this Switch of Manliness? And if so, is the switch still a viable one in a time where both partners in a marriage are often breadwinners? And what about stay-at-home dads? Are they not providers?

In fact, bringing home the bacon has little to do with the true Provider Switch at all.

Providing in Primitive Times

In the Switches of Manliness series, we’ve been traveling back in time, way back in time, to uncover the original male drives that are still embedded in the modern man’s psyche.

Last time, we mentioned the fact that in very primitive societies, men and women provided about equal resources to their tribes; women gathered nuts and seeds, and men hunted big game. In fact, for much of human history, men and women contributed fairly equally to the family economy. The idea of the stay-at-home wife who lounged around the house while her husband toiled all day outside the home is a relatively modern conception of family life. It wasn’t until the 19th century that we saw this idea take hold in the West and even then, the working husband and stay-at-home wife dynamic was typically only available to the wealthy and middle-class. In most families, both men and women had to work in some capacity in order to keep the family afloat financially.

So is there a broader definition of providing, one that better fits the historical record?

To answer that question, I think it’s helpful to look at the etymology of the word “provide.” The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us:

early 15c., from L. providere “look ahead, prepare, supply,” from pro- “ahead” + videre “to see” (see vision)

To which the Etymological Dictionary of the English Language adds:

Lat. to act with foresight, lit. to foresee”

I like that idea of providing. Instead of making a man’s identity and worth based on his paycheck, his ability to provide hinges on whether he has a vision for his life, leads his family with that vision, and is able to look ahead and prepare for the storms of life.

Man as Scout

In primitive times, looking ahead took the form of scouting for the tribe. Men were the lookouts. As scouts, they navigated the terrain and traveled ahead (and behind) the women and children, scanning the horizon for dangers to avoid.

This male role continues in modern primitive tribes, and has even been observed in chimps:

“When Bushmen travel, they walk in a single file, with a man in the lead who watches out for fresh predator tracks, snakes, and other dangers. Women and children occupy safer positions. This, too, is reminiscent of chimpanzees, who at dangerous moments–such as when they cross a human dirt road–have adult males in the lead and rear, with females and juveniles in-between. Sometimes the alpha male stands guard at the road until everyone has crossed it.” -Frans De Waal, The Age of Empathy

I think we all intuitively understand this behavior. Males tend to be physically stronger than females, so it makes sense that males were the ones doing the protecting. But it wasn’t a man’s brute strength alone that qualified him for this role. The male brain is actually uniquely suited for this scouting (or vision providing) task in several ways.

The Scouting Brain

When we were hanging out in our mothers’ wombs, our bodies were flooded with a bunch of different hormones. According to The Male Brain, two of these substances–specifically anti-Mullerian hormones and testosterone–primed the circuits of our tiny male brains for certain functions like “exploratory behavior, muscular and motor control, spatial skills, and rough play.”

The male brain is particularly adept at visual-spatial skills. Men tend to be better than women at rotating objects in their minds to gain a 3-D view and are better able to track moving objects, gauge how fast they’re going, and determine the objects’ proportions and location. Men also have keener long range vision than women, are more sensitive to objects entering their field of vision, and are better at noticing the small movements of those objects. In fact, there is a correlation between higher testosterone levels and visual-processing speeds.

Men’s visual and spatial abilities give them a leg up when it comes to geography, orientation, and navigation–skills that come in handy when out on the hunt or engaging in battle.

The male brain is also built with a larger dorsal premammillary nucleus, also called the “defend-your-turf” part of the brain. The circuity of this part of the brain is designed to detect territorial challenges by other males. Men’s brains also include a larger amygdala than women, which can be thought of as an alarm system for possible danger. Thus men are especially alert to potential threats to themselves and their loved ones.

The Tracking Brain

These inborn proclivities not only helped men in their roles as searchers and scouts, they may have been used in ways that then strengthened their ability to envision the future.  In Born to Run, author Christopher McDougall recounts an insight a modern-day man, Louis Lisenberg, received when he spent time learning how to track and hunt in the primitive style with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert:

“Even after you learn to read dirt, you ain’t learned nothing; the next level is tracking without tracks, a higher state of reasoning known in the lit as ‘speculative hunting.’ The only way you can pull it off, Louis discovered, was by projecting yourself out of the present and into the future, transporting yourself into the mind of the animal you’re tracking…’When tracking an animal, one attempts to think like an animal in order to predict where it is going,’ Louis says. ‘Looking at its tracks one visualizes the motion of the animal and feels that motion in one’s own body. You go into a trancelike state, the concentration is so intense. It’s actually quite dangerous, because you become numb to your own body and can keep pushing yourself until you collapse.’

Visualization…empathy…abstract thinking and forward projection: aside from the keeling-over part, isn’t that exactly the mental engineering we now use for science, medicine, the creative arts? ‘When you track, you’ve created causal connections in your mind, because you didn’t actually see what the animal did,’ Louis realized.”

The Systemizing Brain

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the disparity in the reproductive odds for men and women in primitive times (women had double the chance of passing on their genes than men did), led men to take on big challenges in order to gain alpha male status and up their odds of reproducing. For this and other reasons, men took part in big game hunts, battles, and adventures and expeditions of other sorts. These types of endeavors often happened in large groups, and created a social system for men very different than the one for women. Women, who stayed close to home and nurtured their families, had fewer but closer and more intimate relationships. Men had a greater number of relationships, but they were shallower and more impersonal in nature.

Men thus thought and worked in large systems, and their brains developed accordingly. There are a bunch of interesting implications of this—again I recommend onto you Dr. Baumeister’s Is There Anything Good About Men?—but for the purposes of this post, the most important thing is that men’s brains developed to be motivated towards systemizing, women’s brains for empathizing.

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen (not the Borat guy), who proposed the “systematizing-empathizing theory” after studying autism (which he believes is simply the manifestation of the extreme male brain—all systemizing, little empathizing)—believes this spectrum constitutes the fundamental difference between the sexes.

Dr. Baron-Cohen defines a system as anything in which certain input translates into certain output, according to a rule. It’s all about if-then logical reasoning—if I do this, I’ll get this. According to Baron-Cohen, systemizing helped our caveman ancestors to understand natural systems like weather, astrological movement, and animal migration–skills valuable in feeding and protecting the tribe. Systemizing would also come in handy in battles of social rank in the hierarchy of a tribe. Remember, in our distant past, if a man wanted to increase his chances of passing on his genes, he needed to stand out from the crowd. The systemizing male brain may have helped our ancestors strategize how to make it to the top of the pecking order.

The Provider Switch

The scouting brain. The tracking brain. The systemizing brain. What do they all add up to? The Provider Switch, of course. Men have an innate need to look ahead, to plan, to prepare, to strategize. Or in other words, men have an innate need for vision, for providing.

While we’re no longer hunting antelopes, our brains are still primed to engage in searching, scanning, recognition, and long-term planning. These activities are carried out in the left side of the brain and are fueled by dopamine, the neurotransmitter which neuroscientists have shown motivates the male brain to a greater extent than the female brain.

While the Switches of Manliness we’ve talked about so far–legacy, challenge, physicality–aren’t activated very often in our modern world, this isn’t the case with this switch. It is often activated, just not in a very productive way. And how is it activated? By things like technology and video games.

Studies have shown that video games activate reward regions of the brain more in men than in women, giving us nice hits of dopamine, which probably explains why more men play, and report feeling addicted to, video games than women. Video games activate all the unique attributes of the male brain. Success at video games requires high visual processing speeds, the ability to navigate and create large mental maps in your head, recognition skills, and the ability to systematize and strategize. Of course it’s not just video games that light up these parts of the male brain–analog games like Risk and chess, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and fantasy sports leagues all require systematizing to succeed and draw the interest of more men than women.

Now whenever I say anything about video games, people get the idea that I’m totally against them. Not so. I’ve played them since I was a wee lad, and after a long time away, I just bought a used Xbox so I could play LA Noire (what a cool game!). But I’ve played the game less than an hour a week since I’ve gotten it because I have too many other, more important, things to do. So that’s how I feel about video games–there’s nothing wrong with them per se, they should just be low on a man’s priorities list. They’re dessert–to be enjoyed in moderation. And that’s why they cannot turn on this Switch of Manliness. It’s like eating a Twinkie when you’re really hungry; you’re satiated for a minute, but then ravenous soon again. Instead, you need something that’s really going to satisfy that hunger and build your body.

Turning the Provider Switch means using the abilities of the male brain towards bettering yourself, fulfilling your life’s potential, and leading those you’re responsible for.

The Importance of Vision

Native American tribes would send young men off on vision quests, so that for the rest of their lives they would know exactly what direction they were supposed to take.

There was great wisdom in this. Having a vision for one’s life is essential. Without one, you end up drifting along in life instead of being driven by purpose towards the fulfillment of your goals. Men without vision feel as if unfortunate events absolutely blindside them–Why did I get fired? Why is my wife leaving? Why am I 30 and still living at home? How did I get in so much debt? How did this happen to me!?! Men without vision live only in the present, much like the grasshopper in the old Aesop’s fable. When winter comes, they are caught unawares and left dazed and shivering in the cold.

On the other hand, a man with vision looks ahead. He plans. He knows where he wants to be in 5, 10, 50 years. And he gathers and systemizes the “data” of his life to gain an understanding of what he must do and how he must act to get where he wants to go. He can analyze what’s working in his life and what’s not, and jettison the latter. He scans the horizon to see what is coming down the pike, and he knows just how he will react if X, Y, or Z happens. He cultivates a healthy self-awareness. He knows what flaws, temptations, and pitfalls are his personal Achilles’ heels, the “predators” that can derail his life and poison his relationships. When these threats approach, the alarms in his mind go off, and he walks away.

Flipping the Provider Switch

If you’re a single man, you need to have a vision for your own life. If you’re a married man, you need to have a vision for your own life and for your family. Women don’t want a man who’s a domineering oaf, but they also don’t want to feel like they’re always pulling, and dragging their husband along. They want a man who’s personally motivated, takes initiative, makes decisions, and has a discernible sense of direction and purpose. A man who is always scouting the way to take care of his family and lead them through the storms of life. I’ve sometimes had that conversation with my wife where I tell her that I feel unhappy, and she asks me what I want out of life and what would make me happy, and all I can answer is, “I don’t know.” That’s a failure of vision. And a failure in being a provider.

Having a vision involves growing in self-awareness and awareness of the world around you. The man of vision understands his own strengths and weaknesses, how the world works, and what makes people tick. He looks out from a high point in the landscape, takes in the lay of the land, fixes his sights on where he wants to go, and figures out how to get there. And then he leads and navigates, watching for and surmounting obstacles, until the destination is reached.

Here are some suggestions for harnessing your inner-Scout and flipping the Provider Switch:

  • Find your core values
  • Create a blueprint for your life.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Spend some time in solitude. Hike, camp overnight or even rent a hotel room.
  • Find your vocation.
  • Create a daily schedule.
  • Work on becoming fully present in your life.
  • Meditate or pray.
  • Write down your goals each night.
  • Unplug and take periodic technology “fasts” to recharge and clear your mind.
  • Read biographies–by taking in the sweep of another man’s life you can really gain perspective on your own life, what a man is capable of accomplishing, and insight on the paths other men took.
  • Create a morning routine that pumps you up for the coming day.
  • Turn off the radio on the way to work and think about what you want to accomplish that day.
  • Carry a pocket notebook so you can capture your ideas and make to-do lists to keep track of what needs to get done.
  • Practice memorization–memorize a poem or work on remembering names.
  • Keep track of data in your life–when you work out, record how much weight you’re lifting. Write down what you eat. Keep track of your goals or new habits with something like Joe’s Goals.
  • Read up on human psychology, relationships, body language, etc.
  • Educate yourself on things like health insurance and retirement plans (stay-tuned for a post on this).
  • Create a budget and understand exactly what’s going on with your finances.
  • Start an emergency fund.
  • Be prepared for disaster and learn survival skills–like how to handle a weapon, pack a bug-out bag, and forage for food.
  • If you have a family, hold a regular family council. We’ll do a post on this in the future.
  • Talk with your kids one on one to find out what is going on in their lives. Make it casual–like when you’re driving around together.
  • Stay up on politics, news, and current events.

Switches of Manliness Series:
The Cure for the Modern Male Malaise
Switch #1: Physicality
Switch #2: Challenge
Switch #3: Legacy
Switch #4: Provide
Switch #5: Nature


The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

The Essential Difference: Male and Female Brains and the Truth About Autism by Simon Baron-Cohen

Is There Anything Good About Men? by Roy F. Baumeister

Dopamine, the Left Brain, Women, and Men by Emily Deans

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Max June 20, 2011 at 4:50 am

This is legendary.

2 Rick June 20, 2011 at 5:31 am

Very interesting reading. A little deep for 0530, but I’ll come back to reread later.


3 dawsy June 20, 2011 at 5:47 am

Great article, and an excellent series, thanks again, Brett

4 Tyler June 20, 2011 at 5:52 am

Excellent post! Interesting to think of providing as more than just “getting money/food/shelter for my family.
To your list of things to do, I might add learning a foreign language. There is no better way to learn about another culture than through their language. It is challenging, and stretches your brain in ways it hasn’t been before. You also can get that nice hit of brain chemicals by overcoming your fears — almost nothing I’ve ever done is scarier than trying to speak to a foreigner in their own language — and have a great sense of accomplishment to boot.

5 Jeremy June 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

I just had this conversation with my wife last week:
“I’m unhappy.”
“I don’t know”
I was wondering why I couldn’t come up with the answer and now I know. Thanks for the suggestions of what to do to flip the provider switch.

6 Ben June 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

Excellent! Make sure to include in your vision a little taste of what happens once you’ve reached the destination. I left that part out of mine, and it’s been very difficult adapting to this feeling of restlessness. Take some down time, re-frame and re-evaluate, try to avoid replacement-style addictions to things like video games, and get back out there and do something good. Or, you know, sit back and watch life pass you by. Thanks again!

7 Josh Smith June 20, 2011 at 9:55 am

“The male brain is particularly adept at visual-spatial skills. Men tend to be better than women at rotating objects in their minds to gain a 3-D view and are better able to track moving objects, gauge how fast they’re going, and determine the objects’ proportions and location. Men also have keener long range vision than women, are more sensitive to objects entering their field of vision, and are better at noticing the small movements of those objects. In fact, there is a correlation between higher testosterone levels and visual-processing speeds.”

Now tell us that women are better drivers. Lol.

8 Corey June 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

I was just having this conversation at a Father’s Day get together last night with another dad. We were discussing the conflict of modern man deriving such a strong of his self worth and self esteem from his ability to provide and how inevitably what men do for a living and too often correlates to who he is, despite our intentions of this. We often find ourselves identifying who we are through a job we hate, but we are not our jobs, we are more than that. This article has put that it into a deeper context. We should not be the means in which we provide for, but rather who or why it is we provide. Casual conversation that always strays from discussing weather to, “so what do you do for a living?” should be able to be answered with our passions, hobbies, and thing we do for our families, rather than some long winded over indulgent title listed on our business cards and letter head.

Definitely forwarding this along.

9 Chris June 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

Well said sir!! Like the previous poster, the “conversation with my wife where I tell her that I feel unhappy, and she asks me what I want out of life and what would make me happy, and all I can answer is, “I don’t know.” That’s a failure of vision. And a failure in being a provider.” rings especially true for me, having had the identical thoughts and conversation earlier this week. I recognized the feeling of failure, but could not determine exactly what was causing this. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

10 Andrej June 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

Brett I realy like that you are honest admitting that you didn’t know what would make you happy when your wife asked you … It gives personal touch to the article!

11 Joe June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

Thank you, Brett, for another thoughtful post.

This article dovetails in an interesting way with a book I’m reading, “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. I’m only partway through, but the main thrust of the work seems to be that, through increased use of and dependence on the Internet, people lose some capacity for the “‘deep processing’ that underpins ‘mindful knowledge acquisition, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and reflection.’” We may gain some visual-spatial skills and improve our ability to rapidly process information at a superficial level, but, so Carr argues, that comes at the cost of deep, rich thought. I’m not sure that I’m entirely persuaded by the body of evidence he presents, but the idea of unwittingly trading “deep” for “quick” is arresting.

The connection here is that I would associate the kind of “providing” described here (a very interesting and useful definition) with deeper, more concentrated thought, the kind away from which Carr suggests we may be moving.

For anyone interested in a bit of Carr’s thinking on the subject, here’s the article he wrote that got built out in The Shallows:

12 Brian June 20, 2011 at 11:33 am

I love this series. It has changed the way I think and approach every situation. Thank you so much!

13 David Y June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thanks for the post. This is a definition of providing that I had not thought of before. I have been pretty good at planning ahead in many areas in life. But, could always be better.

Will try to be more aware of this aspect of providing, and take more of the steps you recomend.

14 D. Todd June 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Technology, it seems, is at least partly to blame for any malaise that may exist for the modern male. Can we find “maleness” in a technological world? The “maleness” that involves the struggle for life that seems to have so enriched the male human over time?

Anti-technologist, Theordore Kazcynski, said a lot of things (and did some awful things). His ranting manifesto may be summarized as: The ills of society are a direct result of technology which has robbed man of doing the hard work needed to provide for his and his own family needs. Kazcynski said, “For many or most people through much of human history, the goals of a hand-to-mouth existence (merely providing oneself and one’s family with food from day to day) have been quite sufficient.” He was writing, in his manifesto, of the psychological needs of people.

Anand Giridharadas, wrote in the NY Times, “A man today cannot help but know that he is, in so many ways, post-. He is postindustrial man, with his special powers of moving and making less and less special. He is post-“Mad Men,” having surrendered so many of the advantages that came with being male without yet cultivating himself to compete on more level ground. He is the post-in-vitro man, no longer a biological requirement for procreation. He is often a postwar man, where the historical assumption that a man would someday put down his plow and go to war has faded across much of the world.

What links one “post-” to another is the loss of salience of maleness.

Maleness has not suffered but has become less relevant. It remains far from a curse to be male, as any number of statistics show, but it no longer seems like a special opportunity.”

Men should not decry the rise of women–who no one can deny have often been suppressed from achieving individual full potential in many cultures. Women should be free to rise to their full potential but do so without a general grudge against males.

And men should not decry the rise of technology which, in large part, was brought about by men. Men should not decry anything. It’s not a masculine response–blaming others or things. Men should instead, as they have done throughout history, find another way. We are seeing with articles like the “Switches” in AoM and the Anand article noted above, clues to another way. Another way to keep in our hearts that indefinable maleness that is so important to personal and societal well being.

15 Greg June 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Outstanding post, guys. Well thought out and presented. Thanks!

16 Michael June 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I agree with D. Todd. It’s hard to look at the state of the world today and not feel like the modern world has taken away our purpose, our place and our opportunities. But whether or not that’s true, there’s no sense in throwing up your hands and giving up. Men have faced adversity since their beginning, from wolves and barbarians to disease to tyrants and terrorists, and nothing was accomplished by rolling over and giving up. Men who think and do are the ones who accomplish and change things.

17 Josh Knowles June 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

Thanks so much for this series.

The other day I re-read the article on finding your core values and decided to give it a go. It’s been a helpful thing more me at this stage in my life. I’m halfway through seminary as of this summer. As far as having that plan or vision for my life, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be doing or where I’ll be heading when I’m done. I’ve had to be OK with that, because that’s just how this life path works for most guys. And besides, the last time my wife and I had our life all planned out circumstances (in the form of some significant health concerns) prevented us from carrying it out anyway. That being said, from time to time I find myself really wishing I had something more concrete to go on. Thinking about my core values has helped fill this longing. And articles like this inspire me to keep thinking about vision even though I can’t figure it all out. Just because I can’t see the way forward in great detail doesn’t mean I’ll just through my hands in the air and give up.

18 Will June 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

is vision and purpose tied together. I have purpose which gives me vision which drives my decision. I believe I was created to glorify God therefore it give me vision AND hope in calamity.

great job, as always.

19 Joe S. June 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I really love this series. Each post has some new aspect of manhood that, as a recent 18 year old high school graduate, I’m absorbing eagerly. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

20 Brucifer June 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

As to the Scout and Tracker, in my admittedly unscientific observation over the years, it has always seemed to me that women are preponderantly much more mired in the present rather than focused on the future. It is not that they are in any way incapable of planning for the future, mind you. It is that there planing of an vision for the future is that of a more secure present. This, from their traditional focus on hearth and home. In my observation, men are much more focused upon the variables in future horizon, scouting-out the trail … way ahead. This will hopefully change with future generations of women becoming more independent and educated. As I am all-for women being in military combat roles, I am also all-for them taking-on the roles of scout and tracker. Knowing quite a bit about paleo-anthropology, I’m not convinced that early women, at least in some epochs, left all the hunting and fighting to men, in any case.

21 Jason June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I agree with Brucifer. My wife and I are two different people when it comes to visions for the future. One of the things my wife loves about me is my direction. She has never said I drifted or that I’m listless. She never will. I think what makes man and woman a perfect pair is the planning for the future are two sides of the same coin. I am very much the big picture guy. I see my life all the way to age 65. My wife is very much focused on the immediate future, up to at most 1 year.

22 Jameel Brenneman June 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

And I think part of having vision and providing is understanding where you aren’t so strong on your own, where you will need to ask for help or advice. Sometimes other people’s perspective of you can assist in flipping the switch.

23 Matt June 22, 2011 at 6:16 am

great post – thanks for sharing – my favorite of the Switches series so far.

A lot of this reminded me of one of the best things I have read this year – John Medina’s Brain Rules, which is a fascinating and remarkably digestible book on practical neuroscience, and on how we are all wired.

24 Ben June 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Great series. Keeps getting better and more encouraging with every post. Thanks Brett.

25 Dav June 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Something that my wife and I do is have a marriage journal and a dream book. We combine the two in one notebook. On the dream book side we write down our dreams, put pictures in there of things we would like to do, and once in a while we examine the dreams to see how or if they fit into our common purpose as a married couple. On the marriage journal side we only write in it on our wedding anniversary. We go on a date and each of us writes about the past year. That date helps us with our daily family meting we call dinner.

26 Joshua June 24, 2011 at 3:24 am

I love this site and have turned all of my friends onto it. I read a great article the other day about what it means to be a gentleman and wanted to share it with you guys as I know it will be appreciated here!

27 Mark Parbus June 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm

This is an excellent article in that it talks about the primal instinct of men to provide for not only their family but also for others cannot provide for themselves.

Years ago, men used to hunt and bring home game. Today, we work and bring home the dollar so we can go to Whole Foods and buy the meat.

When men have this instinct taken away from them, everyone suffers. Another switch is to protect.

28 big thompson June 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

the Lisenberg referred to above is actually one Louis Liebenberg

29 Nikish Chanekar July 1, 2011 at 1:21 am

Magnificent. Simply outstanding and I like the clarity, precision and earthiness of your writing. Very inspiring, guiding and “direct to the point” piece of work.

30 Georgiaboy61 July 7, 2011 at 3:50 am

Re: “As I am all-for women being in military combat roles, I am also all-for them taking-on the roles of scout and tracker.” Brucifer, with due respects, please reconsider your views on women in combat. Space considerations do not permit a detailed reply, but please consider reading the following books, all of which delve into women and military service in ways you won’t see in the mainstream, leftist media. All are worthy of your time.

1. Women in the Military – Brian Mitchell
2. The Kinder, Gentler Military – Stephanie Guttman
3. Coed Combat – Kingsley Browne

There are many reasons fighting wars is man’s work, but I’ll leave you with a moral argument, which is the most powerful, IMHO. Natural selection has operated on almost all vertibrates to make the male expendible, aka cheaper to make, and cheaper to use up, than the female, esp. in sexually dimorphous species (including mammals). The worker bees are male, and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the queen, who is a female. The former cannot reproduce and perpetuate the species; the latter can. The same is true of human beings. Women are the foundation of home, hearth and family in the sense that only women are capable of bearing children and perpetuating humanity. If a civilization fails to reproduce itself, it perishes. Therefore, a society that risks – even encourages – sending women into battle when able-bodied men are available, is literally sacrificing the seed corn, as the old saying goes. What does it say about a culture when that culture preferrentially sends its women into battle? In my view, nothing positive. Indeed, such a culture would have, in the not so recent past, been regarded not as “progressive,” but as morally bankrupt and ill. The death of a man in war is tragic, but the death of a woman in battle is an affront to all we once held dear – it is an abomination, a violation of natural law, not to mention the Judeo-Christian tradition western civilization was built upon.

31 Mark November 23, 2012 at 1:28 am

I just wanted to say that this post has really helped me right now. I have been struggling recently in my life in college and in my personal life. This post has just given me some motivation to get off my butt and PROVIDE for myself and for the future family I hope to have one day.

32 Dave February 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I work as a Parenting coach for Dads in New Zealand. As part of my work I deliver a “Meaningful Men” presentation to new Mums and Dads. I have always included information around what is in a males’ “primal” brain, and your article is brilliant, thankyou!

33 Clarke March 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I don’t know which I got more from, reading the comments or the article. GAboy – I certainly appreciate your commitment protect women however some women feel the need to serve their country above bearing children. It would be an equal abomination of a woman’s right to be forced into a role of perpetuating humanity.

34 His Dudeness May 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

“While we’re no longer hunting antelope…”

Heh. Speak for yourself. I just applied for tags for next fall.

35 Aaron January 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm

This was incredible, and quite frankly just what I needed. I’m currently engaged, and my fiancee and I are about to receive our bachelor’s degrees. According to many different sources, the fields we’ve chosen could possibly land us jobs where she makes more money than I. As we all know, this culture values money more than almost anything else, so it was almost about to get to me that I was less of a man or somehow a horrible fiance for not making as much as her. After reading this article, I’m reminded of all of the non-material things I can provide her that will remain steady if we were to both lose our jobs and money wasn’t around to claim us for our value. Thanks, guys. You rock.

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