What It Means To Be A Man…
By TLB Contributing Author: Ken LaRive
As far back as I can remember, what it meant to be a man was instilled and hard-wired into my mind and soul. From school, the movies, television, and in my society, I relished in learning these rules as acceptable behavior. I put women and children above my own life, and concepts like cowardice, heroism, courage and bravery, righteousness and virtue, was an integral part of everyday life. My father was a roll model, but so was Superman, Roy Rogers, Lash LaRue, Sky King, The Cisco Kid, and after a while it all made sense.
There was a balanced order that I yearned to possess in the world, and I grew to know what to expect when I opened a door, or wished a good day to a woman I did not know, out of the blue. This formula is still wanted by young boys and girls today, but there is a faction I call Progressive feminism that does everything it can to dismantle it as frivolous. I find this a great loss, and our young boys and girls are not only confused, but with the absence of societal norms, they grasp at anything they can find to fill the void. Sometimes, quite literally, to their demise…
If you want to destroy a country, attack its culture. Feed it guilt, and take love and accountability out of the equation. Make good to be bad, right to be wrong, lust to be love, and make boys into girls and girls into boys… Men like me are considered dinosaurs, under the yoke of a new type of thinking that I consider a cancer, and it is done intentionally to control us, from cradle to grave.
At nineteen, I was on the verge of being drafted. I knew nothing about guns, and so joined the Navy. I was told I did very well in the entrance exam and that I would be a good submariner. How romantic. How macho! I went to a school in Groton Connecticut, and tested to see where I could fit in. There was a voice talking to me from the start, (you know that little voice I’m talking about), but I wouldn’t listen. I just wanted to be like Steve McQueen in “The Sand Pebbles” …
When, for instance, I was told to say yes every time I heard a beep through the headphones, I noticed that there was a rhythm to them as they got higher and higher. When I could no longer hear them, I kept saying yes until I noticed the man behind the window becoming quite excited and impressed. He wrote in my records that I should be in Sonar. It was just a little lie, but seemed like something Steve would do…
Our training exercises on board were mostly horrible experiences. Again, I realized from the start that I didn’t much like men, especially in close quarters. I slept on a vinyl mattress under a torpedo, sweating on one side and freezing on the other. There was the constant stale smell of engine oil, fried food, testosterone, and sweat. I missed a hot bath, and I stunk. One of my jobs during sea exercises, from Key West to Canada, was being on the team of four “Tower” men. I had to wear red-tinted goggles constantly day and night, so that I would always have night vision. We locked ourselves into the top watertight compartment and plugged in our earphones to let us know when to open the hatch. Sea water splashed on us, cool and refreshing, but in an hour, after it dried, I was sticky and itchy, and it became my norm.
We would then scurry out under the stars. Each had a side to scan with our field-glasses, looking to the horizon for ships, or anything we may run into, as sonar is useless right above. We realized that the reason we were locked in, was that if we ran under another ship we would still hold our watertight integrity. Too bad for us though… Strangely, amazingly, one can learn to fit in… It is a man’s survival technique.
I soon began to realize that what had been indicated to me, by “Uncle Sam” propaganda posters, and the fictitious notions of an enlistment officer, had about as much validity as my hearing test. Ha! I listened to the voice and “non-volunteered’ after just four weeks, which means I indicated to the CO that I didn’t particularly like the service, and that very afternoon I was landing in New Orleans. Submarine Service is entirely voluntary, so they say. They don’t mention the brain-washing of a nineteen-year-old boy to risk his life to prove something as nebulous as manhood… Today we are debating if a nineteen year old has the ability to own a gun. But not once has it been mentioned that men of nineteen are dying in one war after another…
I spent the next two years off the coast of Vietnam, on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. If I’m expected to load bombs to kill someone, shouldn’t I at least have a reason set in my mind? Shouldn’t there be some sort of process going on where I could justify 24-hour flight operations lighting up the horizon with napalm and concussion incendiary? That voice was talking to me all that time, but what could I do about it? I belonged to the military, and I grew up there. I spent the next two years being the Captain’s Yeoman, and what I learned has followed me throughout my life. It is noteworthy to say that neither my Navy Experience, or the first twenty years in the oilfield, did I ever work with a woman. How the world has changed…
Boys and girls look for answers…
Everyone is looking for answers in this life, and for me I think the biggest one men grapple with is: “What does it mean to be a man?” I don’t see a clear answer for everyone… however… Man, I think, should mean male. It has no meaning other then our own species, just as an ape is a monkey. Using the word, “Mankind”, however, depicts both male and female together, as a unit. When one adds a separate adjective to it, suddenly we add a value. A combination like a “good man”surely seems like a worthwhile aspiration. Or the word “responsible” could also become a great ambitious endeavor.
A word like “rich” or “poor” doesn’t depict a value however, and to think that every man wants to be a good and responsible man is not always certain, or logical. There are men who revel in being bad men, and there are some men who aspire to be rich men, and will do any dastard deed to make it so. I have met men like this, and never did I ever aspire to be like them… in fact, I pushed back. I saw these men to be poor in spirit, and yet, sometimes, monetarily rich and powerful… but just like all rich men are not bad, so too are all poor men not always good.
Also, rich can mean goodness, like “rich in spirit”, and thus, he is a “rich man.” Seems complex, but if you are taught early on that there is a system to our society, it is second nature. You can react, without hesitation, reason out both your ability and your failings, and press forward without compromise, secure, certain, and confident.
However, I don’t think that everything we do should always be measured because it has a value for the good of all. So long as you are not hurting anyone or stopping them from living the kind of life they want, it should be okay. I see nothing wrong with a bit of selfishness. What is wrong with placing yourself first at times? Though I see the Libertarian movement mostly dissolved, I liked the basic premise of it as explained to me by Dr. Ron Paul, who I considered not only a mentor, but the very epitome of what a man should be.
I saw a man who tried to stop a fight in a Philippine bar back in 1970. He saw an innocent man being intimidated and threatened by several drunken service men and thought he could persuade them to take a peaceful road. They used him to clean the bar until the shore patrol came in and arrested the whole bunch, including the Good Samaritan. He stood on a principle, and that principle fell flat at his feet. Should he have tried? Yes! He stood for something. He made a decision on what he thought was right and went for it. He created a conscious conviction based on what he thought was just and honest, and risked being hurt to do it. He took action, and even though he got more then he bargained for, he did it out of righteousness. I wish I had understood that better then. I would have liked that man, and might have tried to help him. I think Steve would have too.
Even if there is nothing in the universe that balances good and evil. If there is no God who knows the difference between right and wrong. Even if there is nothing after death but a cold grave and darkness! Wouldn’t it be better to have lived a good and honest life? A righteous and joyful life?
Life is not always fair or entirely for the common good, but that doesn’t mean that we all shouldn’t strive to be good. We have a tendency to sometimes take the easy road, not to stir the pot, and accept things we know in our hearts are wrong. We say that it is okay because everyone is doing it. We are afraid to stand up for a conviction because we fear we will be ostracized, or ridiculed. It’s easy to sit on our hands, but not nearly as much fun! You see, noting will give your arms strength, than a righteous cause, something akin to King Author when he finally understood the concept… “Not Might is Right, but Might for Right.”
Being a man has nothing to do with the muscle in your arms, how much you can drink, the size of your reproductive organs, or the amount of money you make. It is the goodness in your heart, the empathy for your fellow men, and the responsibility you take as your own. It is that gentle spirit that holds you on course, and the love you have to share.
This short life has meaning. It takes on the meaning we assign to it. It is a reflection of who we are. What we are is what we focus on, and I tell you that the self-worth of being a man comes from doing what that little voice inside tells you to do. Listen to it. It’s the voice of your maker, and it strives, constantly, to help you realize that you are who you think you are. What you ask of this life, and what you demand, comes from the questions you ask of it, answered in like kind. What a gift.
From the Author, Ken LaRive – We in the Liberty movement have been fighting to take back this country for less than a decade, peacefully and with the love of God and country in our hearts. Our banner has been trampled on and displaced by a multitude of distractions, further eroding our nation and the cause for Liberty. And so, as we are pulled by forces we cannot fathom, powerful entities with unlimited resources stolen from our future, unaccountable trillions printed out of thin air and put on our backs as debt, we must formulate the most pitiful of all questions any patriot might ask in the final hour: Are we going to fight for our master’s tyranny, or are we going to demand the return of our civil liberties and Constitution? Are we going to choose The Banner of Liberty, or the shackles of voluntary servitude? Will it be a war for corporate profit, or a war to regain our ability to self govern, as the blood and toil of our forefathers presented to us, their children, as a gift? I fear that decision is emanate. I fear that any decision will be a hard one, but my greatest fear of all is that the decision has already been made for us.
Ken LaRive – Facets: It’s a simple but beautiful metaphor. Our soul is likened to an uncut diamond, pure, perfect, and unrealized. Each learned experience cleaves a facet on its face, and leaves it changed forever. Through this facet, this clear window, new light, new questions and ideas take shape and form. This process is our reason for being …
More information about Ken LaRive.
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