Organized attempts at improving the status of men have developed over the years, differing according to various perceptions of the problems.  In America, this began in the 1800s with small groups scattered about.  The National Sociological League was perhaps the earliest large organization.  In 1931 its Executive Director, Dr. Alexander Dallek, claimed 25,000 members, from every state in the union.  They attacked shotgun marriages and unreasonable child support.  In 1932 an organization called The Family Protection League lobbied state legislatures.  No details of its demise are recorded.

Like Burke’s “Little Platoons,” rival organizations and coalitions came and went throughout the ΄70’s and ΄80s, reproducing like amoebas.  A veritable alphabet soup of acronyms was spawned, theoretically all on the same side in the struggle against injustice, many of them just one man, a typewriter and followers.  Meetings were, and still are, held across the country which accomplish little more than venting wrath at ex-wives, judges and lawyers, now via internet.

Unfortunately, communication was practically non-existent.  Each new group had to reinvent the wheel.  They rediscovered the same issues, gave the same speeches spoken decades before by their predecessors, all the time imagining they were boldly going where no man had gone before.  The new guard became the old guard, as ‘summer soldiers’ dropped out, and the cycle began over and over again.  What a waste of talent and experience!  The inefficiency boggles the mind (Plus ce change…)

Masculism has as many shades as Cher has hair colors.  In most movements, and especially this one, there have always been differing factions.  But the philosophical differences are not nearly as great as the personal ones.  Activists often act like crabs in a bucket, dragging back down any others climbing to the top.  Some have egos the size of the Hindenburg, but without the intelligence to match.  This type pursues private fantasies of being the Messiah who will bring us out of the wilderness.  Every rooster is king on his own dung heap.  The attendant ego blast overrules the greater good.  Little did, or do, these ‘leaders’ seem to realize that lieutenants in a major organization are more important than generals in an unnoticed group.

Quixotic individuals fruitlessly dashed themselves against the unyielding rocks of misandry.  Some have had excellent ideas for reform; Several have even run for president or state governor on men’s rights platforms.  For decades many fathers and several grandfathers have gone on hunger strike in many countries protesting inability to see their children or grandchildren.  None, to my knowledge, have died.  These endeavors have been and still are like farting in the wind because the reform “movement” has always been too disorganized to implement or back them.

  Resistance has been greater from within the movement than from without.  Disputes over means to the same end have rendered us largely ineffective and permitted our common enemies to grind out destruction with pitifully little opposition.  This suicidal self-castration is indefensible.  The buffalo comes to mind; these magnificent animals almost became extinct, because they stood around eating grass and nosing their freshly killed as tongue-hunters picked them off one by one.  Had they a brain large enough for self-preservation instincts, they could have herded up and stampeded the poachers; even if it meant not personally leading the charge or that several of them might get shot. These continuing problems are not confined to the U.S.  Every country has experienced the same fractiousness.

Charlie Metz long ago advised me against trying to unify the movement, comparing it to herding cats.  Although Charlie’s advice to me was usually right on target, I didn’t heed his warning.  After one lengthy earlier attempt at unifying the movement in the early ΄70s in Elgin, Illinois failed, several other ecumenical-minded activists and I met in Los Angeles in early 1977, first at the home of Professor Amneus, and next day in a conference room at his University.  There we formed a new coalition called Men’s Equality Now International, its acronym M.E.N. International.  The foundational philosophy recognized the broader aspects of anti-male discrimination.  It was to function as a forum of information exchange, with a Board composed of the heads of major organizations.

Predictably, rival coalitions formed, some with quite talented people.  The drain on membership and talent by ongoing defections and by officers and members dropping out when their individual problems were resolved, as well as an internal palace revolt, caused M.E.N. International to slowly slip into dormancy.  Some U.S. coalitions remain active and do good work, but are not large or influential enough to be effective.  There remains an obstinate, almost militant refusal of the various elements to cooperate in opposition to external and internal enemies and problems.  This old accursed phenomenon does more harm than all the anti-male elements in society combined.  One is reminded of the psalm of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Today’s leaders have forgotten, actually they never knew, whose shoulders they’re standing upon.  A purported history of the men’s/fathers’ movement was recently published by a gentleman with a decidedly leftist, pro-feminist, pro-gay orientation.  Overemphasizing at length the importance of such groups, his book, Uneasy Males, claims to be an overview of the men’s movement from 1970 to 2000.  The writer’s only knowledge of the movement at the times he writes about is what he gleaned from studying University of Michigan archives. The section on Yours Truly, obviously sourced from archived writings of my critics (you can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back), is loaded with inaccuracies.  This retired history professor is not in the same league with Professor Amneus, politically or intellectually.  His is shabby history at best.

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Last modified: March 30, 2017