This was a hard book for me to review. I think that Dr. Smith gets the diagnosis right: she says that our culture has become increasingly hostile to men in light of an increasing pervasive push to empower women. The problem I have with this book is that her recommendation is for men to become selfishly protective of their rights. Is this a good response? I am not so sure. Would it not be better for both men and women to embrace their uniqueness and embrace their gender in a mutually respecting relationship that honors one another?
Dr. Smith notes that men have been increasingly withdrawing from society and retreating into a world of men-only living, video games, and marriage-free existence. I don’t see how one can argue as the facts speak for themselves. Men are giving up and giving out the keys to the home, workplace, and culture. Men are enjoying fewer and fewer privileges in society while these same privileges are piling up for women. From college to child custody to due process men have allowed women to cow them into a place of submissive apology. This is, I believe, mostly true. Despite the urban myth, men are not earning as much as women, they are taking a back seat in the classroom and they are overwhelmingly favored in our court system. It’s time to stop the feminist movement – it has largely succeeded and now is living in excess.
So what to do about it? Dr. Smith explores a range of options from fighting to “going Galt” (dropping out of society). Herein is the weakness of the book. Her stark libertarianism provides no basis, at least no moral basis, for what men should do in society. So rather than embrace the selfless role model we find in Christ and the Christian view of gender she treats the reader to a selfish model.
This book is one more brick in the wall of my opposition to libertarianism. There is so much I like about libertarianism. I believe it’s the future of the Republican Party (if, of course, the Republican Party has a future). It’s the only logical choice our secular culture will accept as a balance to the rising nanny state that Democrats offer. But at its core it’s nothing more than selfishness made into a political worldview. “Men on Strike” is part and parcel of this sort of pragmatic selfishness.
Should you read it? Yes, you should. But keep in mind that replacing the left’s insistence on “my rights” with the libertarian version of the same does not create a civil society.