Young Men Can Do Better And History is Witness

Community News & Features Apr 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm
Protest at Parkland school shooting.

Protest at Parkland school shooting.

In the Aftermath of the Yonge St. Carnage

By Jose Victor Salamena

On Monday, April 23, 2018, a wonderful spring day turned into a deadly tragedy in the streets that I call my hometown. In a place five minutes away from my wife’s workplace, and fifteen minutes from mine, a lone rental van left the road and got onto the sidewalk, and accelerated. After a few minutes of carnage, nine people were dead, with one more succumbing to their injuries, and as of this writing, fourteen are injured. The perpetrator was eventually apprehended.

Soon after the shock of what happened set in, news reports came, and the questions of intent soon followed. Who was responsible? And why? Was it a terrorist attack, in the same vein as the attacks in Berlin, Germany, in Nice, France, in London Bridge, England and in Times Square, New York? That was the obvious, intuitive, naively simplistic conclusion. But as the day progressed, that conclusion didn’t hold water. The accused perpetrator didn’t fit the profile.

Toronto Star front page about Toronto carnage.

Toronto Star front page about Toronto carnage.

But the accused did fit another profile – a profile that fit the trend that has been happening more often.

Regardless of ideology, the accused was, once again, another male, and in their 20s, a young adult, again responsible for another horrific act of murder and carnage.

Even more harrowing: a Facebook post, later confirmed by Facebook to be that of the accused. A small rant, praising another mass murderer that massacred innocents in 2014. The small rant contained words that were unbeknownst or unfamiliar to the general public, but held importance in the dark recesses of the dark web, or Reddit and 4chan. The accused called himself an “incel”, short for “involuntary celibate”. His target? “Chads and Stacys”.

Another atrocity where the perpetrator was another angry young male. All one needed to do was switch “jihadist” with “incel”, “chads and stacys” with “infidel”, and the similarities start to gain clarity.

What’s wrong with my generation? What’s wrong with our young men?

Uptight religious types will blame hip-hop (at least they’re not blaming rock anymore) and video games, and blame the breakdown of traditional gender roles and the breakdown of the “nuclear family” as factors. (I didn’t say I completely disagree – full disclosure, I’m an evangelical). Feminists and gender issue experts will counter and point out their usual spiel. Economists of the left will point to the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and economists on the right will point to the economic slowdowns caused by the ever-increasing growth of the Leviathan nation-state that is crowding out economic dynamism, kicking young people out of the job market.

Whatever the causes may be, (and all those factors may play a role), but my generation of young men need only look in the mirror to see the problem. The problem isn’t only us, but it’s mostly us.
Us young men can do better. And history is witness.

Because we live in a visual age, I thought it best that I summarize my point in a chart. This chart looks at three of the historical classical liberal revolutions that I hold dear to my heart – the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Philippine Revolution of 1896 (the first classical liberal revolution in Asia that tried to break an Asian people from a colonial power, and which took its cues mostly from the previous American and French iterations). It also looks at the age of some of its main players and key figures that were either the instigators of the revolutions, or the later figures that benefited from it. Key figures in italics are those under 35.

This chart is to show what young men are capable of, if we channel our passions into worthwhile movements – movements that can change the course of history. Among the notable names on the list: Thomas Jefferson, one of (if not the) principal writer of the Declaration of Independence, was thirty-three. Jacques Hebert, Maximilien Robespierre, and Georges Danton – some of the most important figures of the French Revolution – were all in their early thirties. And the Philippine Revolution, while (criminally) underappreciated outside of Southeast Asia, was a Revolution that was successful in temporarily breaking off the yokes of imperialism – and a revolution where young men were the driving forces.

History is witness that our generation of young men and young women can do better. We can channel our passions to the betterment of society.

To end, I want us to go back to the Parkland School Shooting, and the aftermath. While the shooter fit the bill of our angry young male, the aftermath told a story of hope. Young people burst onto the political scene, made their voices and concerns known, and helped prompt change in gun legislation.

There is hope for our generation after all.