Conservatives long to recapture “the ideal of a gentleman.” But is this another example of cheap moralizing and lamenting the good days gone by? Do they themselves really understand what they aim to recover?
Aaron Renn thinks not. In The Masculinist, he argues that today’s nostalgia for the gentleman ignores the historical context which made the concept possible. Instead, promoters “cherry pick” the safe bits that will not incur the wrath of today’s PC sensibilities—specifically, the hierarchical values and corollary strictures for women.
What conservatives demand is men with physical courage but not moral courage, something they themselves often lack. They yearn for, in effect, a vulgar, ahistorical chivalry, where men are disposable and women are not only honored and protected but entitled to set their own rules, change them at whim, and remain off-limits to criticism.