You’ve probably heard at some point or another of the Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred the Unready. His name means nobly advised, or well-advised. His moniker, the Unready — Unræed in Old English — means unadvised, or poorly advised. Æthelred presided over England’s defeats by the Danish, first against Sweyn (Sven) Forkbeard and after that to Sweyn’s son Canute (Knut) the Great. While he did regain his throne, it is doubtful whether the old Anglo-Saxon Kingdom and the Wessex/Cerdicing dynasty ever recovered. The tragedy at Hastings was midwifed by Æthelred’s poor counsel.
A history of King Æthelræd Unræd would be fascinating in its own right, but I will here write about another tragedy in the making. We are faced in our time not with a single man who is being badly advised, but of an entire generation of young men who have had poor or no guidance from their elders. I am referring, of course, to the millennial and zoomer generations, who have been so badly advised that we are finding it difficult to live in the world.
As always, when we speak of society, we speak of ourselves, so let us begin with a personal anecdote. In the passage of time we find that things break down, and then we find it necessary to repair them. Every time something breaks down, I realize the bitter reality that I’m just not that handy, something which can be quite injurious to one’s self-respect as a man. Just recently, having failed to successfully clean a central heating unit and thus sinking into existential dread as I was cleaning up a mess of my own making, I reflected upon what it was that made me all thumbs with tools. Of course, the real question isn’t why someone is not handy, but rather why someone is handy — and the answer is invariably “because they were taught to be.” Certainly there are also innate traits that can make someone a better or worse handyman, but all handymen were at some point taught to be handy.
When we speak of teaching and learning, we are also speaking about the social roles of teacher and student. My teacher in the arts of minor home repair was my father. It’s not that he didn’t try to teach me, and it’s not that I did not want to learn; it was rather that, for the life of us, we couldn’t establish the lines of communication necessary to assume the social roles of teacher and student — or better still, of master and apprentice. It was small wonder, seeing as how poor we have been at assuming the social roles of father and son.
But hold on a second — that’s not right. My father was not a bad teacher, nor was I bad student in all matters. He taught me to swim, to box, to ski; he taught me empiricism; he taught me chess and poker; he taught me to read people’s intentions from their position in a given social context rather than relying on reading their personalities. He imparted his vast knowledge of criminal law, criminology, penology, and organized crime prevention to me while I was still in my teens. He taught me to manage my personal finances without needing an accountant. He even taught me to tie my shoelaces — no mean feat.
In that long list, there’s only one item to which I didn’t take like a fish to water. You guessed it: tying my shoelaces. Of all the things my father taught me, only one was genuinely difficult for both of us, and that was it. Everything else went very smoothly, with no hitches. Everything that had a hitch got derailed quickly. I remember my father would lose patience if I didn’t immediately grasp whatever it was that he was trying to impart to me. Like many highly intelligent men, he made a very poor teacher, because the core skill of a teacher is patience, and more specifically, a high tolerance for student error, as well as a willingness to repeat instructions as many times as necessary. My father hated repeating himself.
Not that I helped. I was, then as now, very willful, easily distracted, and prone to discouragement when I didn’t immediately take to something. My father would often say that I am impatient, and he was right. Of course, for a certain class of men, including both myself and my father, patience is learned, not innate. The mind needs to become silent before work or learning can take place, but much deceleration is required for the vast engines my father and I carry in our heads. Over time, I began noticing that my father hadn’t mastered patience as such, but merely domain-dependent patience. He could read mind-numbingly boring legal texts with very little effort, but could not bring himself to repeat instructions regarding the turning of a screw. He could concentrate very deeply on a chess game, but his mind could inadvertently wander away mid-conversation and he’d suddenly become inaccessible. The great irony of this was that he did not have the patience necessary to teach his son patience, nor was his son the type to have an innate propensity for patience.
At the societal level, we are accustomed to the older generations complaining about millennials and zoomers being this or that way. What amazes me is that these perpetually dissatisfied elders ignore the role they played, whether by poor or bad counsel, in the formation of the youth as it is today. My father was thrust by circumstance into the unenviable role of a teacher for a problem child while being thoroughly underequipped and underprepared for it, and we should have compassion for his position. Yet, rarely do we have compassion for the way in which a poorly-advised child turns out in his adulthood, much less when society as such is far more culpable for millennials and zoomers’ ultimate fate than my father is for mine.
Millennials in the West have problems. They are burdened with heavy student debt. They do not earn enough to move out of their parents’ houses. They aren’t marrying and having children at replacement rates. In their desperation, they’re turning to Left-wing demagogues who are promising them student debt relief and housing assistance. They’re embracing replacement migration and the dissolution of the traditional family structure. For this and other reasons, they’re being derided by their elders, as if those elders had no hand in their behavior.
Why did millennials incur massive student debt? Because they were told to do so by their parents and teachers. They were taught that they’re nobodies without a college degree, so they complied. When massive demand and government subsidies drove up college tuition costs, the banks and colleges worked out a scheme for financing tuition. Young men and women, having been taught that they’re nobodies without degrees, signed up for these loans which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court, and their elders did not object, nor did they offer any counsel to the contrary. Now that it has become apparent that a college degree is not a guarantee of financial success, the elders mock and scorn the youngsters when the latter want relief from these onerous and usurious debts.
Why are millennials unlucky in love? Because millions of young men believed their mothers when they claimed that “girls want nice guys.” Their fathers remained silent, partly because they didn’t have the energy to argue with the mothers, and partly because they grew up and chased girls in a time when female hypergamy was still kept in check by residual patriarchal norms, so it wasn’t all that inconceivable for a nice guy to snare a pretty girl. So millennial men poured untold energies into “being nice,” and into listening to women and paying attention to their problems. They were rewarded with the dreaded friendzone while the girls wasted their youth away on those few who’d remained assholes despite all of society demanding them to “be nice.” Now in their thirties, some women are coming back to the nice guys, hoping to get some financial and familial security before they turn 40, but childbearing is unlikely at their age, and developing strong attachment after decades of promiscuous sex among the woman and quiet misery among the men is unlikely. What families do end up being formed by such relationships will probably end in divorce.
Why are millennials embracing wokery and multiracialism? Because ever since they were babies, they were inundated with propaganda embodying the Nuremberg Moral Paradigm — that the greatest possible evil is organizing along ethnic or racial lines and that the greatest possible good is diversity. Millennials dutifully obeyed their parents and teachers, who admonished them against being racist or intolerant. Indeed, so obedient were they that they were unafraid to hold their parents and teachers to their own standards, resulting in the cancellation of the old-timers by rabid Twitter mobs. They were encouraged to explore and express their sexuality, and they did — even though some of those expressions are not quite what the elders intended, of course. Many Gen-X mothers thought that their daughters would act like them: settle down with a nice husband after some mild experimentation. They did not expect millennials to dutifully and faithfully implement their instructions, complete with the transgenderism, promiscuity, and homosexuality so prevalent among this generation.
Why are millennials embracing demagogues? More importantly, why are they turning to unscrupulous manipulators such as Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate, who grift off of them while posing as their mentors? The answer is simple: Because white men have an instinct to mentor and be mentored which is just as strong and vital as the sexual instinct. Just as a sexually unsatisfied man will turn to pornography to attain sexual release, so will an unmentored young man turn to mentor porn to escape his dreaded state of unræd. Alas, the false mentors wear their caps well and mislead many.
I’ve not written about the zoomer generation because I am not a zoomer and I do not understand them well. I observe some things about them which annoy me greatly, but I don’t speak about them, because if there’s anything I’ve learned from being left in a state of unræd by my elders, it is that we must first have compassion for struggling young men, and that criticism without offering a realistic alternative is more cruel than compassionate. I have nevertheless observed that zoomers are left in a state of unræd, and that they suffer for it. I’ve therefore endeavored to be a mentor to young men in those areas which I understand well enough to teach. The problems I’ve run into are familiar: I am impatient with young lads who struggle to grasp new concepts, and I hate repeating myself. No matter how far I try to run, my father follows, because Lion King was right, and all our fathers live inside us. For this reason, I’ve had to learn patience and compassion, traits that do not come easily to me. I’ve had to learn to slow down and walk young men through difficult concepts and movements, learning to manage both their frustration and mine.
When I teach, I build my own future, because I expect these lads to carry on the struggle even after I no longer can, and in ways which I cannot. If we are to win, we will need young men who are æthelræd — nobly-advised — but in order to provide such noble advice to them and rescue them from unræd, we must first become noble ourselves.
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