- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2004

According to Peggy Noonan, “to be a man in this world is not easy.” Texas A&M; University Professor Richard T. Hise explains many reasons this is so. Parents with teenage boys nearing manhood can give their sons a leg up by handing them a copy of Mr. Hise’s book, “The War Against Men.”

The war against men is real. It requires men to exercise care in choosing an occupation and in choosing a woman. The risk-reward ratios have deteriorated both for marriage and for working for a corporation. A bad choice can leave a man wounded, maimed, bereft of property and children, and in prison on trumped-up charges.

Mr. Hise writes, “The female propaganda machine is relentless.” Men are sitting ducks, in part because they have been demonized and lack “a national organization, similar to the National Organization for Women, that will aggressively advance men’s positions, interests and needs.” Mr. Hise suggests a catchy name: “No Ma’am” — National Organization for Men Against Anti-Maleness.

Mr. Hise cites statistics indicating women today in their attitudes and roles are more like men. The complementary pairing of the two sexes has broken down, making successful marriages increasingly rare. Women are not men’s life partners, but rivals favored by law.

That’s the way feminists want it, and courts and legislatures have gone along. Mr. Hise believes this has put society out of balance and that the long-run consequences of the war on men will damage our country more than dangers from terrorists.

When men lose, children lose. Kay S. Hymowitz counts the casualties in “Liberation’s Children” published by Ivan R. Dee. Unmoored from traditional structures of meaning, America’s kids are having trouble building a self.

Tolerance and open-mindedness are important virtues, but if pushed too far they murder convictions. A culture that depletes the resources of the soul will not long produce a population that can remain a superpower.

One reason we are losing our children is the paucity of books that help them develop concepts of good character. For cultural warriors, and for old-fashioned animal lovers, good news: a book you will want your children to read and one they will want to read — “Arc of Light” by Linda Jane Roberts, available from Trafford Publishing, (888) 232-4444 or www.trafford.com.

“Arc of Light” is the story of a raccoon, a possum and a groundhog, two night creatures and a day creature, who leave their comfortable abodes in a manor house garden on a thrilling and dangerous journey of discovery. The adventurers experience new sights and critters, some friendly and some dangerous, and discover “adventuring has more to do with discovering ourselves than a new world.”

Night creatures have eyes for moonlight and darkness, not for the bright light of day when, they believe, monsters with sharp teeth are about. Day creatures fear night’s darkness, a time, they insist, when fierce monsters prowl. The journey’s dangers and tribulations, as well as its joys, cause the adventurers to travel at times by night and at times by day. To cope with challenges, the animals have to rise beyond their limits and the limits of their own worlds.

The author is clearly a close observer of American wildlife. The characters she gives the animals are both believable and insightful. Her descriptions of streams and fauna, wildflowers and trees are poetic. Beautifully written and engaging for adults as well, it is a story grownups will enjoy reading to their children and grandchildren.

“Arc of Light” will introduce your children to a world beyond the video screen. After experiencing the adventures of Moonbeam, possum and groundhog, don’t be surprised if children ask for a walk in the woods, especially a forest with bridges and creeks and pawprints to observe.

A day’s escape from virtual reality begins a great reconnection.

Paul Craig Roberts is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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