Posted on September 12, 2012

The Silent War on Noncollege-Educated White Men

Matt K. Lewis, Daily Caller, September 10, 2012

Much ink has been spilled this election cycle about the so-called “war on women,” but as the Wall Street Journal notes, “In 2010, young American women had a median income higher than that of their male peers in 1,997 out of 2,000 metropolitan regions.”

That same year, Hanna Rosen observed: “Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same.”

There is no political benefit in discussing this phenomenon, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed by academics. From Kay  Hymowitz’s ”Manning Up: How The Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys” (listen to my podcast with Hymowitz here) — to Rosen’s “The End of Men and the Rise of Women” — some observers are keenly aware of the trend.

In recent years, women have also been hit by the economic downturn. Still, you won’t hear much about the plight of men on the campaign trail.

There is very little benefit to talking about how hard men have it.


A generation ago, a young man in, say, Ohio might expect to graduate from high school, get a job in a factory, and provide a decent middle-class lifestyle for a family. Those days are long gone. And while men in general seem to be in decline, one can imagine the changes are particularly acute for working class white males. They see their jobs shipped off or taken by immigrants who will work for less money. On top of that, they may also feel emasculated at home.

Again, this has not gone completely unnoticed. Ross Douthat noted in a controversial 2010 New York Times column, that “downscale, the rural and the working-class” whites are experiencing “alienation from the American meritocracy.”

One wonders about the unique psychological toll this might take. White men, especially, can’t complain. What I mean is that nobody is sympathetic to them. There is a good reason for this. Historically, they have won the lottery. Thus, there is no release valve — no politically correct way for them to express their understandable anger at a society that seems to have let them down. What is more, they are regularly mocked and portrayed as Homer Simpson-like buffoons by the media. There is no anti-defamation league to complain when men are portrayed as idiots on TV commercials, movies, etc. They are supposed to suck it up.


This could also have quiet political ramifications. Not many people are writing about it, but as a recent National Journal piece hinted at, there is some angst beginning to bubble up from this silent majority.” [Johnny ] Whitmire is an angry man,” the column observed. “He is among a group of voters most skeptical of President Obama: noncollege-educated white males. He feels betrayed — not just by Obama, who won his vote in 2008, but by the institutions that were supposed to protect him…”