From an article in the New York Times called “The Boys Are Not All Right“:

Too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured in strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others.

This seems to be the common definition of masculinity. Strength and power. This is reflected in numerous ways, in particular with the feminist idea of “patriarchy”, and the constant ways that masculinity is badgered and belittled by feminists in the name of “equality”. And it’s also reflected in the recent debate about gun rights, such as with the headline from Slate, “Why are conservatives so obsessed with gun rights anyway?

The one idea largely missing from these discussions explains both, as I explained on Twitter in response to someone who shared the above New York Times article:

[M]anhood isn’t defined by strength and power. It’s defined by being self-sufficient. And not just in earnings and providing for home and family, but also not having to call on someone else to do what you need done – to a reasonable extent.


A firearm allows for self-sufficiency in many ways. Defense of your home. Out in the middle of nowhere, such as where my parents live, it’s essential to have a firearm for defending yourself and your family. Since out there, the police are not getting to you in time.

Being for less government means being more for self-sufficiency.

Out in rural America, boys and girls both are taught from a young age how to do a lot of things. Because driving somewhere to have it done for you may not always be an option in the same way as in suburban and urban America, such as where I live.

To survive in rural America means to do without a lot of options, giving up a lot of convenience. It means you have to know how to better provide for yourself.

I saw this during my last drive out to Las Vegas, a trip I’ll be repeating in the coming months. In particular along US-54 between Emporia, Kansas, and Tucumcari, New Mexico. And really in particular with Nara Visa, New Mexico. Google that place to see just what I mean. Passing through, I think they had…. a few businesses, and a hundred people. The place looked pretty run down.

And then there’s the drive along I-40 between Tucumcari, New Mexico, and Kingman, Arizona, before turning north toward Boulder City. Talk about long stretches of…. nothing. There’s a sense of independence living out there, but it requires being self-sufficient. There is a lot of convenience you are giving up living out there.

And if you talk to the men who live out in that area, they can show you how self-sufficient they are. Probably teach you some tricks they’ve picked up along the way. These are people who would rather do their own basic auto maintenance than pay someone else to do it. Why drive a half an hour to the nearest town only to wait to have the work done when you can do it on your own time as needed, so long as you remembered to pick up oil on your last trip into town?

Same with home repairs. They won’t wait for someone else to do it, unless what they’re trying to do may result in the house burning down or blowing up. And even then, they’d probably still risk it.

For those of you living in the urban areas, how many people do you know that barely know how to use simple tools – screwdriver, wrench, pliers, etc.? Out in the rural areas, not knowing how to use simple tools is emasculating, whereas in the urban areas, it’s normal.

Out in the rural areas, you have a firearm because you can’t call the police in a pinch. In the urban areas, you’re still at the mercy of a response time, but you just might live through it.

Yet all too often, people from urban and suburban areas try to tell rural people how to live when, in actuality, it should be the other way around. To be urban and suburban is to be less self-sufficient, largely because you don’t need to be. Convenience is all around you, a phone call or short drive away.

And the greatest sign of how self-insufficient we’ve become as a society… our continual deference to government. Letting government solve problems rather than looking to community. And increasingly more are turning to the Federal government for this instead of their local governments.

Where we lose self-sufficiency, we gain big government. Trading rights and general liberty for convenience and the illusion of safety.

And people wonder why we have a crisis of masculinity in the United States.