The Men of Middle Earth
Affectionately named Middle Earth after our involvement in The Lord of the Rings production, one can’t help thinking, that to the rest of the world New Zealand might look like the scene of one of Tolkien’s legendary battles, following our recent and ugly parliamentary election; just how you would characterise the Labour Party after their tragic loss, I will leave to the imagination of the reader.
But what of the men of middle earth – where has that left us?
That discussion started in the post, The Killing Power of Feminism, and drew the conclusion;
No, this time we are fighting for ourselves. Women have abandoned us for what they think is a better offer. They’ve got the political representation that we haven’t.
When you look back through the last century, in the first decade or so working men fought for and won some relativity in the economy, and eventually settled on political representation through the Labour Party. There were two world wars, first between 1914 – 1918, and with barely enough time for recovery in between a second from 1939 – 1945.
It would take a further generation to recover but again we were dragged into another conflict, the Vietnam War.
More than 3000 personnel were involved between 1963 and 1975 (peaking with 548). Thirty-seven men died in active service and 187 were wounded.
But there would be a higher price rather than our direct involvement; two legacies, one a group of men poisoned for life by the use of Agent Orange, and a platform against which the Red Fems would backdrop their political evolution.
Since the 1970s men have seen a rapid and continuing erosion of their property and reproductive rights, through to the present day – much of what has happened over the last decade or so is recorded in many forms here, courtesy of the dedication and generosity of the site’s owner.
In arriving at this point in time other intrinsic developments have been the political de-representation of men and the decline of the unions. Two large subjects better left to individual debates, but largely brought about through the success of middle New Zealand. The post war development and reasonably secure economy gave the majority a stable foundation on which to build families, and lives.
That was life as we knew it, and whilst men were living with the perception of the security from that which had previously been collectively won, they weren’t ready for women and the system to collaborate and round on them individually. Those men were unprepared, easily isolated, stripped bare, and rejected by mainstream society as being at fault. It’s amazing what people can get away with in the big city.
This election saw the feminists come out of the shadows for a shot at ownership of parliament. It didn’t work. It came at a cost. The electorate voted the Labour Party to its worst defeat in the last century, and now Labour’s a Massive Mess
That’s simply not a functional political party that fits into our current political system or the national psyche.
The unions no longer represent the large number of working men that they used to. Our largest union, the PSA is heading towards 80% female membership, and collectively even the male dominated unions make up only a small portion of the workforce.
The Australian Labor Party is proposing to dump union involvement, and become an elitist party, and similar calls are being made here, in the post mortem and debate on the future of the Labour Party.
With the development of technology a smaller group of men are in vulnerable employment positions, and not often exposed to the previous vocational risks and exploitation of the past, although forestry has been a watchable exception.
Men may have got the vote before women, a whole 14 years earlier, but a century later we’re in a decidedly worse position – should we have even asked for the vote?
Richard Seddon, Premier at the time of the women’s vote, was strongly against (and voted against) women voting. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts on the matter now.
So, following years of battling feminism and taking into account the current situation, where does that leave men and our sons in this new age of Middle Earth?
Undermined by policy?
Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, we are heading back to the same place, where we recognise that we have only one thing in common – Fatherhood.
While the Labour Party is suffering the throes of political death, do men need to reassess their political presence in New Zealand?
It is time for a new conversation, a new Masculine Declaration of Independence.