Aggression in Young Boys and Men

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Among human beings, young men are the most aggressive, other things equal. Young men commit the most violent crimes. They are the most boisterous and violent at some sporting events. They frequently rush to fight in wars. The men from many countries who are traveling to Syria to fight have various ideological, religious and political reasons, but the fact is that it is probably young men who are being mainly attracted to that particular arena, not middle-aged and older men, not men who have settled down with families or in occupations. In any war or combat, one can always find such reasons, but why is there fighting over these many and sundry causes? Why can the older men succeed in inducing the young men to fight? Or why do they fight with little or no inducement? It’s because that aggressive tendency is there in the first place.

Young men need older men to guide the aggression into non-destructive channels. Sports and physical challenges have traditionally been one such channel. Hunting, mountain climbing, swimming, and competitions of all kinds, including the non-physical ones, serve this purpose. Some societies teach ways to sublimate the aggression. Some have had challenging rites of passage to manhood, involving physical pain and disfigurement, which shows how serious this matter of inherent aggression is. America is attempting to control boyhood aggression with such drugs as ritalin and with coercion. These are bad methods because they attempt to suppress the masculinity of boys and this simultaneously thwarts and suppresses the personality, driving it sometimes into even more violence that is directed at others and self. It is young men who do school shootings, is it not? And isn’t this often when these men have been prescribed drugs? And why were they prescribed drugs? It was in a futile and misguided effort to control the aggression that is particularly present in young men.

As in many other matters, American society and state have gone off the rails in adopting some strange ideologies and then attempting to institute them broadly by rules and coercion. In this case the strange idea of feminizing males seems to have taken hold. When combined with the strange ideology that human behavior can be tweaked and controlled by drugs, that’s a knockout punch to sane ways of dealing with aggression in young males.

And let us not forget the other strange idea in this war on masculinity which is the anti-gun mentality. A gun and shooting may be exactly what a boy needs to channel aggression. At my YMCA camp when young, we shot rifles with real 0.22 bullets and we shot targets with real arrows. We went wild through the woods in various games of finding an object. And it was a boys camp besides. I was the bugler and I controlled a small cannon that we fired once a day at waking-up time. I got to choose one camper a day for that coveted event.

All these ideas of suppressing aggression are not only strange. They are stupid, because they are trying to suppress symptoms. They are superficial. They hurt the boys. Many will turn to self-destruction from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. What is being taught to young boys by these inane methods is the suppression of self and the idea that being a boy and acting like a boy is somehow inherently bad or wrong. The result of that is an insecure boy who turns against himself and others in various ways.

8:41 am on November 29, 2013