To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. Gender-associated problems facing men are universal and worldwide. One might justifiably wonder why men and father victims haven’t been able to confront and overcome them. There have been many attempts to do so; over time men have mobilized all over the world, and are loosely referred to as constituting “the men’s movement.” Individuals in and out of the movement have been gnashing teeth and butting heads against this massive wall of misandry for decades, and getting bashed heads. Those expressing displeasure over their treatment in divorce are like hogs squealing while being led to slaughter, and are no more effective. See the complete movement history at the mensdefense.org website: http://mensdefense.org/.
Yeats, you were right; the center did not hold. Pogo’s expression is apropos, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” C’est la vie.
Reuben Kidd (who died February 26, 2007 at age 94), George Partis, Jay Burchette and Charlie Metz (who died March 25, 1971 at age 51). These gentlemen plowed fresh social and jurisprudential ground, only to see their insights fall somewhat back to disfavor. The men’s movement has been wandering in the wilderness ever since their time. The situation is analogous to today’s youth being unaware of this country’s founders.
See the Dedication section, later, for more info on these wonderful gents.
Existing U.S. Organizations
The below is a rough summary of the current situation. In the United States the National Coalition for Men (NCFM.org), operating primarily out of the west coast, the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC.org), operating primarily out of the east coast, the Equal Justice Foundation (EJFI.org) operating primarily out of Colorado, and Jail for Judges (jail4judges.org), operating primarily out of the Dakotas, and the Men’s Defense Association all have agendas for reform. Jail for Judges pursues judicial corruption; their “Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.)” was intended to create a special grand jury for the purpose of determining whether judges civilly sued as a result of blatant judicial offences should be stripped of immunity, and whether they should be indicted for criminal violations. It was rejected by So. Dakota voters due to wording manipulation by state government officials.
NCFM seems to be most active currently. ACFC’s David Roberts informs me that ACFC, like MEN International, is “minimally functional. Peripheral organizations like the Children’s Rights Council and Men’s Health Network are also pursuing agendas for reform. Most certainly there are others worth mentioning; I’ve been out of touch in recent years. And, of course, there have been numerous lone wolves advocating and counseling on various issues. The aforesaid organizations may be able to provide attorney referrals for men in need. Google them.
Presently, the foregoing “Little Platoons” and associated ones are too militantly independent and disorganized to contend with the system/s arrayed against them. Consequently they take a back seat to feminism, and will continue to do so unless and until they get their acts together. An analogy from Khayyam’s time and place sums it up: “The dogs bark, and the caravan moves on.”
All have failed so far, due to seemingly inherent male problems—largely egotistical—in activists and ignorance in followers, thus frustrating numerous efforts to consolidate into an effective counterforce. Some activists have considered themselves the Messiah pioneering reform, and that they could go it alone―isolated from other groups―reminiscent of Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” The analogy of lobsters in a bucket have applied. Decades ago, one individual had thousands of dollars in grants lined up to support Men’s Equality Now International, but an envious group was able to sabotage it.
The “Promise Keepers” organization operated under the illusion that only men abandon families. Their gullibility was breathtaking. The “National Fatherhood Initiative” held rallies with celebrities, sold souvenirs and instructed fathers how to have fun with their children. One might hope they would have been more interested in helping fathers have their children. One quite prominent organization busies itself advocating for baby-changing stations in men’s’ restrooms, campaigns to get cities to offer the same self-defense class to men as they offer to women and lawsuits to expand draft registration to women. Anti-male males proselytize on such websites as consciousmen.com. Lately, in western countries, some groups have morphed into somewhat of a liberalized sex-melding project. A board member of one organization was able to get my criticism of homosexuality in a website article deleted (I wonder what a homosexual sympathizer would want in officership of a MEN’s organization, other than to subvert it. There are plenty of organizations for such people). In early days of the abortion debate, few men seemed to appreciate that a fetus was more than a blob of tissue so we merely advocated that fathers have equal right to determine the babies’ fates. Modern groups don’t seem to address the issue.
Some men with severely wounded egos or who are driven nearly insane by the system gravitate into the legitimate men’s/fathers’ movement, and use it as a platform from which to denigrate all women. Admittedly, there may be good reason some guys’ wives divorced them. Our cause is not well served by our own irrationals. Like men who kick dogs, they are an embarrassment. Very few belong in this category; however, our opponents find one or two and paint us all with the same brush.
In September 2014, National Public Radio hosted a gathering of activists proclaiming to hold the “1st Int’l Conference on Men’s Issues.” Actually they are about 45 years behind the times. There have been many such conferences, some much larger than theirs. Besides introducing new and strange philosophies into the cause, new age activists are barely aware that issues of concern were addressed by their predecessors decades ago. What Santayana said is apropos, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.” Those who do study history can do little more than warn about those who repeat it.
Everything that needs to be said has already been said.
Since no one was listening, everything must be said again. ―André Gide
The Author’s Suggested Way Forwards
Though I may have long been considered a dotard, I submit the following: reform must be more than a notion; a modern crusade against the anti-male jihad must be mounted. The authentic men’s movement has plenty of talent and resources–worldwide–to achieve success, if they could be properly marshaled and coordinated. For decades, your author has advised the movement that a better way to demolish the wall would be for all to back off, form up, and hit it together. I believe it will come down no other way. Obviously, this “forming up” would require overcoming internal problems. Major groups must be persuaded to commence a policy of intra-movement cooperation. If large organizations seriously act in concert, and movement writers take up the cause, smaller groups should be swept along like lifeboats in the wake of the Queen Mary. Such a combination of forces and resources (manpower) would be over-whelming, constituting a force equivalent to and potentially greater than that of feminism.
Anti-male elements in society can be defeated by only one thing: political clout on a national―or rather international―level. In theory, the best and most efficient construct to form up and develop clout would be to create a unified organization with democratically-elected leaders chosen from the most capable. Men’s Equality Now (MEN) International, the last credible attempt to so unify the movement, came to naught. fn So practically, in view of situational reality, the most that can probably be hoped for at present is a greater degree of cooperation among major―relatively speaking―existing groups. fn
A juggernaut like this is more easily conceived than constructed. It may even be an “Impossible Dream.” The cooperative approach requires a common philosophy, discipline and some mutual agreements. The discipline of British and German armies, however unfortunate at times to the rest of the world, was key to their successes. A common philosophy must be broad enough to include all reasonable approaches, and narrow enough to exclude approaches that are nominally masculinist but are actually harmful to a truly masculinist philosophy. Reformers must define who are legitimate members (and who aren’t), and cooperate with allies within existing structures. Endless arguments over trivialities and creation of ever new structures must be avoided.
Logically, it is imperative to determine philosophic Ends before addressing Means of achieving those Ends. Without such an understanding of Ends, the movement cannot know what it is–and what it isn’t. As analogy, builders cannot build a long-lasting house without a foundation. The foundation of this movement must be built before the upper storey rooms. After long consideration, I believe that a common philosophic foundation should be the same as it is, or was, for Western civilization―the nuclear family. With that in mind, this writer has long proposed the following End: “To preserve the traditional nuclear family through restoration of equal dignity and equal (not identical) rights under the law for all persons across a broad spectrum of life, including divorce, employment, health, crime punishment and image.” That or something essentially similar to it may be the only philosophy that all the disparate authentic elements of this poor “movement” can agree on. Until basic matters are agreed upon, achieving gender equality is impossible.
It seems that national political disputes have a minor parallel even in the men’s movement. Members and organizations must distinguish between politics and politicians aligned with their interests and those which are not. I submit that the ‘progressive’ philosophy is less in line with men’s and families’ interests than is the conservative philosophy. For example, I am disappointed by the failure of modern organizations to understand the connection between welfare and family breakup (cause and effect), to connect those dots.
We must keep things in perspective. While restoring fathers and fatherhood to their proper position is elemental, perhaps even primary, divorce discrimination is only one aspect of a larger anti-male phenomenon. Pursuing single issues such as divorce are unproductive approaches. Fathers are but a subset of men; alleviating their problems alone, like cutting off one head of a many-headed hydra, still leaves us with the underlying misandry. It will bite us again in another area. In order to correct injustice or inequality directed at fathers or at men in general, the entire hydra must be attacked; misandry itself should be the greater concern.
In the interest of broadening the base of the movement and making it more acceptable to the public at large, it may be necessary to include elements primarily concerned with issues of health and personal growth or introspection, elements that are not primarily concerned with external discrimination against men and fathers. I hesitate to include groups subscribing to the false premise that gender role change is necessary and good. If those elements on the fringes–the introspective types–would focus upon more important issues confronting men and fathers, great strides could be taken. Along these lines, it might be advisable that the derisive term SNAGS be avoided. It might be better to have them on the inside pissing out than on the outside pissing in. Depending on intelligence level, it takes years to know who’s who and what’s what in this poor “movement.” Such things, of course, are matters for consideration by the mainstream.
In order to know what’s going on beyond their little circles, to know where to direct attentions and activities, movement members worldwide must be fully educated on issues. Printed forums such as NCFM’s Transitions fn and the (now seemingly defunct) Liberator are likewise important, reinstated if necessary. The internet is a potentially powerful resource, a high tech forum for communication and ecumenism. Websites and previous iterations of the Men’s News Daily, could serve as a sounding board for advocacy of an ad hoc committee of recognized international leaders with unity or strong cooperation in mind. My God, even Al-Qaida’s diverse groups agree on a common web site! Some women have been more effective at defending men’s interests than have male activists. Karen Straughan is one such. Unfortunately, she refuses to recognize male activists who decades ago were saying the same things she thinks she invented. [i]
However, there is danger such forums could become nothing more than fancy Towers of Babel, befogged with tangential issues introspection (now sometimes overdone to the point of confused speculation) and blather as has happened in the past. Bloggers tend to endlessly banter about this and that, seldom getting to basics. The sight of the forest is lost while examining individual trees.
As our modern day politicians don’t measure up to the country’s founders, so too some modern men’s activists don’t measure up to the old guard men’s movement. It is imperative that the movement honor its founding fathers mentioned at the beginning of this section and theoreticians like Professor Amneus, all now deceased.
Samuel Adams said, “It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Right makes might. Reformers need more of what Tom Wolfe called “The Brotherhood of the Right Stuff,” men with cajones. Remember the great words of Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Time to saddle up. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” Fight the good fight.
 Several decades ago, I drew up a proposed Constitution for it, and may still have it somewhere in a file cabinet.
 I believe that the same concept should also apply to the American Legion and VFW organizations, both serving vets and both struggling to recruit members, yet they are reluctant to merge, though most posts are in tough financial shape. Here too, the problem probably reduces to ego.
 I continue to wonder just what we are “transitioning” from and to.
Mr. Doyle is the author of Save The Males.
NCFM Adviser Richard Doyle, The “Men’s Movement,” authentic and otherwise
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