"A knight fears neither demon nor man; neither is he afraid of death since he longs to die." - St. Bernard of Clairvaux
The revelations that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein went virtually unopposed for decades as he allegedly raped and terrorized innocent young women reflect a crisis in Western masculinity. Feminists characterize this crisis as the inevitable consequence of a culture powered by a testosterone-fueled toxicity that flourishes in the dominant sex. Given the legions of women adjoining themselves to the #MeToo hashtag in the past 24 hours, each of whom have shared equally miserable and equally disgusting accounts of having been encroached upon by a Weinstein or two in their lifetime, one would think the feminists have a point.
Perhaps, we men silently wonder, if the feminists lamenting of this “toxic masculinity” were correct all along, and Weinstein is just the rancid stench rising up from the sewers of our collective conscious to remind us of what we laid to waste. Our noses afflicted, no longer can we ignore the rot beneath us. For we are all guilty, and the privilege is mine and yours to check. We must strip ourselves of this testosterone-fueled toxicity and transform anew, into a paragon of feminist virtue: a Mark Ruffalo; a Justin Trudeau; a George Clooney; a Pajama Boy; a Planned Parenthood-supporting socialist bereft of our archaic instincts. We must become … like men of progressive Hollywood?
But how does that square? Is it not the enlightened men of progressive Hollywood who failed to keep the cantankerous Weinstein from pressing his portly paws into a young Paltrow-in-waiting’s breast, forcing them to watch him engage in a one-man orgy of abuse? Where were the knights to slay the rotund beast when their maidens cried for help?
As noted by screenwriter Scott Rosenberg, a man too disgusted with his own apathy to eschew declaring that “everybody-f***ing knew” about Weinstein as the Matt Damons and Ben Afflecks parade in a storm of mass denial, the "knights" of Hollywood were too dazzled by Weinstein’s showboat to notice: a 24/7 joyride on the old man river of Hollywood glitz and glamour where the promise of Oscars and A-list stardom were vociferous enough to deafen the screams of Harvey’s prisoners in the decks below. Why rock the boat and risk the crocodiles over a couple of hysterical starlets? Hey, that’s just Harvey after all. Just keep rolling along.
If not the men of Hollywood can we look to revert this crisis of Western masculinity, then who? Gloria Steinem, Sarah Silverman, Cecile Richards, Hillary Clinton? God save us. Could it be that what Western society has defined as “masculinity” for centuries has no place in the modern age? That as the Leviathan grows to repress the perils of nature to ascend us above that which is “nasty, brutish and short,” the men should become as domesticated dogs? A castrated drudge languishing behind a fence in line with the sheep?
But what if a wolf should slip behind that fence? Worse, a pack of wolves? Who is left to defend the sheep? The watchdogs have been laid to rest; the shepherd shunned. Half the flock is devoured now; the survivors will remain slaves.
Perhaps not …
To solve this crisis, the task before us now is defining what we mean by true masculinity and its antithesis: effeminacy. For guidance, we look to St. Thomas Aquinas, who defines effeminacy as a man that “readily yields to the touch” and who is “ready to forsake a good on account of difficulties which he cannot endure.” In short, and here I must tip my hat to Father Ripperger for explaining this, an effeminate man refuses to detach himself from concupiscible pleasures to endure the pain of pursuing something greater than himself. This includes a variety of pleasures, from eating to sex to video games. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom of MTV and hip-hop culture, the man who forsakes chastity in pursuit of promiscuous sex falls into the category of this effeminacy, as does the man who gorges himself on potato chips while binge-watching Stranger Things.
Effeminate men abdicate their divinely-directed duties to sacrifice themselves for the greater good: the well-being of women, the survival of their nation, the protection of Truth. Should a man, at any point, forgo these directives for his own comfort or well-being, he succumbs to an effeminacy that creates a vacuum only a stronger, malevolent force can fill. In the case of Harvey Weinstein, the men in his purview, by their own admission, were too consumed with self-interest to protect the women from becoming prey to his bestial nature, allotting him free reign to terrorize them for decades. Had Weinstein been stopped when his predatory nature revealed itself, he would have never been allowed to become such a cultural powerhouse.
"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage,” said C.S. Lewis. Conversely, when the knights surrender their swords, beasts shall devour maidens. In a culture ruled by Harvey Weinsteins, one can only raise the question: are there any knights left?