Josh Hawley is coming to the defense of the American male.
The Republican senator from Missouri spoke Sunday night at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida.
According to a text of his speech provided by his office, Hawley accused liberals in government, the media, and entertainment of defining “the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness — as a danger to society.”
Hawley said the same masculine qualities being vilified “have long been regarded as vital to self-government.” Liberty, he said, “requires virtue. And in particular, it requires the manly virtues.”
“We need men who will shoulder responsibility, men who will start and provide for families, men who will enter the covenant of marriage and then honor it,” Hawley said.
The first-term senator has often been a polarizing figure. His fist pump toward protesters descending on the Capitol on Jan. 6 drew strong consternation from many in his home state, including calls for his resignation. But he remains popular in conservative circles and is often seen as a potential future presidential contender.
Hawley said the backlash against masculinity can be seen in elementary schools, where rambunctious boys are “diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder and medicated into submission.”
For decades, he said, government policy has worked against male-dominated industries such as manufacturing. Today, he said, men are more apt to be jobless, less likely to be married, less likely to be fathers. Conversely, he said, they’re more likely to suffer from depression and turn to substance abuse.
Hawley said men must take responsibility for their own actions.
“Still,” he said, “can we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games?”
“The question is, how are we going to raise up good men today?” Hawley asked. “We can start by repudiating the lie that America is a systemically oppressive nation and that men are systemically responsible.”
Hawley said his message to men is simple. “You can be a tremendous force for good. Your nation needs you. The world needs you.”
By JIM SALTER, Associated Press