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Men’s Movement Unity

October 05, 2006

Vox Populi

By Richard Doyle

THE PROBLEM Let’s face it, the men’s/fathers’ “movement” hasn’t moved in over 30 years. Part of the reason is fierce opposition from entrenched government officials (judges, legislators, etc.) money-grubbing lawyers, feminists, SNAGS (sensitive, new age guys) and assorted other factions.

But a more damaging cause of our failure to achieve justice springs from within. As Pogo famously said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I submit that intra-movement factionalism, egotistic ambitions and the naiveté of newcomers are the root causes of our failure. These suicidal phenomena have impeded progress almost from the beginning.

FACTIONALISM: There are so many so-called organizations I can’t begin to keep track of them or their acronyms. Some are one-man endeavors consisting of a pajama-clad zealot with a bedroom computer. Others are nation-wide operations with talented and numerous followers. Nearly all are parochial and militantly independent. They have been compared to a circular firing squad.

EGOTISM: Every barnyard rooster is king on his own dung heap. Many movement “leaders” aspire to be the proverbial big frog in a small (hopefully big) pond. Taking a clue from Lucifer in Milton’s Paradise Lost, the motivating principle of some seems to be “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

NEWCOMER NAIVETE: The anti-male phenomenon and its oppositional gestalt are so massive and intricate, ranging from the obvious to the subtle, that would-be reformers, however brilliant they may be or imagine themselves to be, cannot possibly fathom the problems and solutions with limited experience.

A SOLUTION Permit me, from a perspective of over 40 years in these trenches, to posit a solution. There is enough talent and manpower dispersed throughout the men’s/fathers’ movement, internationally, to successfully confront the enemies of justice if that talent and manpower were properly coordinated. Such a force would be overwhelming. Of course, a juggernaught like this is more easily conceived than constructed. In theory, if the aforesaid internal problems could be overcome, the best and most efficient construct would consist of a unified organization with democratically-elected leaders chosen from the most capable. But practically, in view of situational reality, the most we can probably hope for at present is a greater degree of cooperation among major existing groups. Requisite to any form of cooperation or unity are a common philosophy and means of communication. The common philosophy must be broad enough to include all reasonable approaches and narrow enough to exclude those approaches that are actually harmful to that philosophy. I have long suggested a philosophy meeting that criteria: “To preserve the traditional nuclear family through restoration of equal dignity and equal (not identical) rights under the law for all male persons across a broad spectrum of life, including divorce, employment, health and crime punishment.” Anything essentially similar to this will do. I ask leaders of the major men’s/fathers’ organizations to respond to me with comments, pro and con.

It is my intention to list on this blog the organizations prepared to sign on to a unity/cooperation effort. In addition to identifying the cooperative among us, this list will be informative for non-affiliated persons wishing to join organizations oriented toward achieving justice and who desire to avoid ego-driven groups.

40 years in the trenches on behalf of men, fathers, kids, family. Editor Emeritus of The Liberator Author: Save the Males, The Rape of the Male