In a recent podcast, journalist Matt Welch interviewed mathematician Nicholas Eberstadt about what’s really going on with NILF men, those “no longer in the labor force”. Eberstadt lays out the gobsmacking data regarding “prime age” men dropping out of work and tries to ascertain what is driving this decades long trend.
Just because these men are no longer participating in the job market doesn’t mean they are volunteering, studying, caring for someone, or even looking for work. “They spend a lot of time watching”, Eberstadt says. Most are on disability pensions, taking pain medication, and have a criminal record. There are multiple factors for why these men have bowed out but many have found, it is hard to pin down the exact reason.
One thing is clear – a lot of men have been struggling and there is plenty of blame to go around. Loss of job security, credentialism, feminism, watery churches, and elements of our culture that keep us addicted to comfort, convenience, and distraction.
Jordan Peterson is convinced that men need responsibility, to aim at something and get it done and we came across a couple of stories of men doing things to encourage men to do just that. The F3 movement – fitness, fellowship, faith – is getting men together to workout and share spiritual lives. (If you hit a paywall, Terry Mattingly spoke about this piece on Issues, Etc.).
Although this is not Christian in purpose, mens’ sheds, an idea which started in Australia are now in many countries. Each chapter has a community space where men can hang out, not just to do woodwork, but combat loneliness and learn new skills.
Roman Catholic podcaster Matt Fradd got creative and is opening a cigar shop in his small Ohio town. A dojo? A community garden? A men’s choir? What could you dream up? Yes, the hoard is arrayed against us, but this is not a time to retreat. As much as we can, we need to show up, to bring the salt and light to the places we live.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” 1 Peter 3