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The mate, mate, mate state

How managerialism absorbs masculinity

Artillery Row

On a recent episode of Politics Live, it was reported that the UK government is considering a proposal to create a “Minister for Men”. When asked for his thoughts on the matter, comedian Geoff Norcott — who wasn’t particularly wedded to the idea — cited the rising male suicide rate as a potential justification for doing so.

There are several problems with this. For a start, the suicide rate amongst both men and women has been relatively stable since the early 2000s. Whilst men commit suicide at a significantly higher rate than women, this has been the case for no less than 30 years.

The last thing our government needs is another minister for something

Compared to the early 1980s, suicide in Britain has gradually declined. Whilst there was a noticeable uptick around the time of lockdown, a return to the rate of 2013 doesn’t constitute an unprecedented social crisis.

The last thing our government needs is another minister for something. The accelerating habit of creating new posts and renaming state departments, rather than implementing tangible reform, symbolises the bureaucratically induced inertia of Britain’s political system.

Politicians naively looking to make a difference — and seeking re-election — are increasingly reliant on PR stunts and shallow gestures, curated to give voters the impression that things are changing.

Renaming BEIS to DESNZ hasn’t built any nuclear power stations, but it has given Grant Shapps something to post on his TikTok. Boris Johnson’s Minister for the Union hasn’t reversed any devolution, but it has “reassured” us that the UK government supports the continued existence of the UK.

This is compounded by the irony that no right minded person should want any such proposal materialising into anything but an empty portfolio, on account of the concept of a Minister for Men being absolutely petrifying.

Imagine taxpayer-funded propaganda infiltrating every facet of public and private life, more so than it already does, depicting an array of stereotypically “manly” scenarios — playing footie, watching footie at the pub, playing footie in a video game — fronted by some bloke, some chap, gently reminding you to check on your mates, attend therapy and read bell hooks.

It must be said: there’s something fiendishly totalitarian about British mental health campaigns. In a country where killing a newborn baby is being decriminalised by MPs from across the aisle, the British state and its associates spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to stop people from killing themselves.

“Mate, mate, mate. I’m fine with bombing innocent civilians, I’m fine with communal rioting, I’m fine with killing newborn babies. But killing yourself? Mate, that’s just not on.”

Mental health campaigns go hand-in-hand with movements like body positivity. They suggest an objectively bad thing shouldn’t be remedied through change, but through acceptance and normalisation.

Don’t solve any of the problems which make you sad; accept that sadness is part of a beautiful spectrum of human emotion and that it’s OK to not feel OK and so on, and so forth.

Most therapy is political control, pure and simple. The purpose of therapy is to treat disgruntlement with the current state of affairs as a quirky chemical imbalance — a “you” problem, rather than a political problem.

Therapy deflects accountability away from those responsible for our national malaise and onto the individual member of society. Prices outstripping wages? Talk to a therapist. Concerned about violent crime? Take some anti-depressants. Worried about demographic change? Another Prevent workshop for you!

The British establishment is so fixated on individual “well-being”, on therapeutic self-actualisation, that national matters are simply not fathomed by our politicians. They treat such concerns like a rainy day, something which causes people to feel glum, but ultimately not something which can be changed.

The Bank of England, an institution which kept interest rates at record lows for decades and printed eye-watering amounts of money to spend without return, prides itself on its first-rate therapy provisions. NatWest — a bank that consciously engaged in political persecution — encourages customers to talk to its staff about mental health-related money concerns.

He has been reduced to the equivalent of a dopey housewife

For the managerial class, it is more important to aid people through their discomfort, rather than destroy the cause of it. Don’t look out the window; look at the TeeVee! The community isn’t something organic that exists as a fact of life, with problems afflicting individuals on account of their natural membership. It is a cynical catch-all term, an identikit slogan to justify efforts to satiate the disgruntled, deracinated masses. It prevents from them articulating a genuine sense of fraternity and developing a radical political conscience.

Let it be known that there is no greater threat to politicians than politics itself. This is why the masculine aesthetic is so often weaponised by the state and its adjacent activists. Contra Andrew Tate, the modus operandi of the political establishment isn’t to make men paint their nails and wear dresses.

The epitome of modern emasculation, one that is championed by the British mainstream, is the centrist dad: a thumb-twiddling everyman that stumbles through life, vaguely confused by everything, possessing no firm beliefs about anything besides beer and football, the bread and circuses of his age.

A domesticated eunuch, he outsources his political conscience to his wife or girlfriend, choosing the life of a pudgy, depoliticised husk. He withstands the paranoid ramblings of his other half, who oscillates between telling him to be seen and not heard then accusing his silence as sympathy for the political enemy.

The feminist New Man of the 2020s is similar to the New Man of the 1990s. Instead of being both provider and care-giver in the relationship, though, he has been reduced to the metaphysical equivalent of a dopey housewife.

His preoccupation with “manly” pastimes disguises the fact that he’s a spiritually castrated drone wearing the skin on the archetypal Lad. Eyes quivering in the base of his skull, he is programmed to monotonously “mate, mate, mate” any problematic transgression to avoid social death for one day more.

In contrast to Norcott’s uncommitted defence, Ava Evans proposed a similarly terrible “Minister for Mental Health”. This post will be tasked with suicide prevention on behalf of everyone, not just the disproportionately affected male population. PoliticsJOE says #AllLivesMatter!

Evans justified her stance by claiming the initial proposal served to perpetuate every sensible centrist’s worst nightmare: the culture war. As with the male mental health crisis, this notion is simply not true.

If anybody has sought to politicise male mental health, it’s not men’s rights activists or “meninists”, but feminists. For decades, they’ve spun a narrative specifically designed to incorporate men into their intersectional coalition. They proclaim the omnipresence of patriarchy and its harmfulness to everyone in society, including men and boys.

Consequently, whilst male suicide remains an issue, it is no longer treated as a multifaceted one. It is understood as a one-dimensional consequence of “patriarchal expectations”. Men kill themselves because they aren’t allowed to cry and wear pink, nothing more.

More than any other political faction, second only to race-baiting grifters, feminists have popularised an absolutely bastardised way of thinking about statistical disparities. If women are more likely to be impacted by X than men, then X becomes the political property of women, even if men are significantly affected by X.

Feminists have done this with every social ill at their disposal, but now this logic is being used to transform the notion of suicide into a distinctly male hardship. Consequently, they’re becoming not so keen on it. Shock and horror! When you invite people to compete in the Oppression Olympics, they prefer to win, rather than lose.

To worm their way out of this growing predicament, they pivot away from conventional intersectional rhetoric and blame men outright. Men kill themselves because of patriarchal expectations — expectations which they’ve imposed upon society and therefore themselves — making their comparatively high rate of suicide their own fault. Norcott gestured towards this in his answer, basically the equivalent of stepping on a rake.

The creation of a Minister for Men, or a Minister for Mental Health, won’t solve any problem its proponents hope it will. Rather, it will be used to propagate the ideological hegemony that has sought to reassert itself in opposition to the advent of national populism — another cog in the machinations of the Mate, Mate, Mate State.

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