The often overheard buzzword of ‘toxic masculinity’ is one that was argued over strongly amongst progressives and conservatives. Many were quick to point the finger at a Gillette ad which became a viral controversy. However, between the constant bickering and arguments over the ad and two colliding worldviews, some conservatives have forgotten a very real thing.

There is a kind of ‘toxic masculinity’ which exists, however, the vernacular isn’t inherently a masculine issue. This toxicity is one which has plagued man from his inception and is better portrayed as a character flaw of the heart and not just because one is a man. Conservatives have a responsibility to call out situations where men act out of line and with disregard to women, situations where abuse runs rampant and where solutions are nonexistent. I believe constant partisanship has made us lose sight of the fact that there are ‘good men’, but ‘not all men are good’.

Instead of fighting to advance the characteristics of good masculinity, we see an immediate defense from people on the right. Anyone who even alludes to some level of sexual misconduct, title IX, or other issue is assumed to be a radical leftist who’s just against men broadly. The mob mentality dominates in modern America, and the assumption is you’re either with us or you’re against us. Objectivity and actual solutions seem to be absent among the euphemisms.

The DOD shows 6,769 incidences of sexual assault cases occurred in 2017. This was a 9.7% increase, likely due to greater trust in the reporting systems and victims rights protections. The DOD is just one sector, there are examples across the private and public realms. The statistics which arise aren’t partisan in nature, they’re generally based on legitimate or ongoing investigations. What we know for a fact is that our culture tells men that they should not strive to be men of character. Our culture not only tells men this, but it also produces men who lack ethical drive. We see men who have seemingly no morals, and no sense of self-worth. Each of those negative aspects is a perfect recipe for those men who prey on women, abuse substances and become part of the numbers rather than a part of the solution.

While progressives are not totally off the mark for calling out ‘toxic’ aspects of masculinity, they are wrong by not assuming they had any role in what has become the ‘modern immoral man’. Much of the failures that lead to abusive behaviors stem from a lack of order and rule, a lack of ethics. Those ethics are generally conservative in nature, and thus we see where the problem comes full circle.

So what are we to do? The answer is this; Make men into the leaders and gentlemen they should be. Teach boys to respect women, to honor their parents, and to lead by example through kindness. Make the act of kindness and love something praised and honored, show that the best a man can be is one who keeps his faith and respects those around him. Ultimately, it’s only when we begin to consider our souls and the issues of the heart that we will be able to move forward. Unfortunately for progressives, this might mean adopting conservative principles for young boys and men.