Evidence indicates that the earliest human societies were hunter/gatherer, with men the hunters and warriors, and women the gatherers and nurturers.
That division of identities has remained pretty much universally throughout history.
Women’s activism over the past 200 years or so has eroded that relationship, leaving males in general to feel threatened at the loss of their own identity. If women can do man’s work, what use is there for males?
Parallel to this is a perception of some races as more advanced than others. In a nutshell, European nations married technological advances to a rapacious nature and briefly conquered the world.
Racial activism over the past 200 years has eroded that relationship, leaving whites in general to feel threatened at the loss of their own identity. If subjugated peoples are allowed to achieve equality with whites, what value is there for whiteness?
Parallel to these is a perception that wealthy people are intrinsically better than poor people. Wealth has been assumed the main measure of success, quality, and capability. That some poorer people rise to this level is taken as proof of concept for intrinsic superiority. There are those meant to rule and those meant to be ruled.
The rise of an educated Middle Class and educated poor threatens that relationship, leaving wealthy people to feel uneasy. If everyone becomes equal, what use is there for rulers?
Put these three together and you have a picture of white males in general, but particularly rich white males, threatened with loss of their identity. (Along with people suffering the Stockholm Syndrome of inferiority—such as Evangelical white women supporting the notion that Eve was created to serve Adam.) In essence, rich white males have no identity beyond their wealth; even charitable giving is simply reaffirmation of their wealthy value. Fear breeds anger, which breeds abuse and oppression.
The trouble for males, especially white ones, and most especially rich white ones, is that oppression leads to rejection of identity roles by the subjugated. Since the 1990’s in particular, American White Males have fucked themselves by hoarding more and more. As the American Dream becomes increasingly unobtainable, new generations are opting out of identifying themselves by their work, their household roles, and even their genders. They are discovering an identity of true individuality.
Vincent Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, and the open-source movement have provided a means for the oppressed to disengage from an oppressive society. The heretofore dimly perceived tectonic shift of the Information Age is becoming clearer, and it spells a toppling of more than a few statues. Those icons are merely metaphoric, as evidenced by things like the crumbling Republican party.
For decades, I’ve watched men retire, go home to fish and visit relatives, and die within a few years from lack of purpose. I’ve seen marriage after marriage collapse after children leave home and the work of managing a family disappears. The people I’ve seen survive those transitions have invariably possessed an individual personality beyond those roles, often through hobbies.
The lesson is pretty clear: Accept society’s definition of your role and you’re going to die when it’s taken away; define yourself as something other than that and you’ll survive with joy.
The young don’t really care what we think of them, and the future is theirs. If the rest of us hope to survive, we need to follow their example.