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Symbolic Language

April 22nd, 2014 // 3:32 pm @

Two Different Americas

There are two classes in modern America, the literal class and the metaphorical class.Divergent film poster 191x300 Symbolic Language In the increasing divide between the “haves” and the “have nots,” this language difference is central.

Those who don’t understand the language of metaphor are falling behind in the widening gap that is the global economy. They are watching their family’s standard of living decrease over the decades.

This trend will only increase in the years ahead.

Those with a quality education learn to think, to readily see symbolism wherever it is found. But most Americans and Westerners are part of the literal class—symbolism is often lost on them.

They tend to see things without the metaphor.

Parental Guidance

For example, last year a long debate raged on social media about whether or not The Hunger Games trilogy was good or bad reading for youth. The most interesting thing about this debate wasn’t the arguments made by either side, but the fact that symbolism was hardly ever part of the debate.

But the symbolism is glaring: A nation sacrifices its helpless children for the convenience, entertainment, and libertine moral values of the urban upper class, while government, media, and big wealth combine to keep their control over the outlying, rural people dedicated to “archaic” family values.

What could be a closer parallel to our modern society? And what metaphor could ever more clearly point out the hypocrisy of the American cosmopolitan class and its views on abortion?

What Was Missed

To anyone trained in symbolism, the metaphor is obvious. We watch children killed for the convenience and political values of the elite class. And note that in The Hunger Games the urban classes have collectivist economic views combined with libertine moral values—the same as those in the real world who support Roe v. Wade and easy abortion laws in modern America.

This is blatant symbolism, but only the upper classes really understood this.

In fact, some of the most vocal voices declaring that The Hunger Games books and movies are inappropriate for youth came from people who are strongly against abortion.

They just didn’t understand that The Hunger Games was probably the biggest, best, and most popular anti-abortion movie ever. This was entirely lost on the literal classes.

When the ruling classes understand literal and symbolic language, while the masses only understand the literal, freedom is in decline and the power of the ruling classes will only increase.

This was true in Shakespeare’s day, in the time of Virgil, and when the Psalms and Proverbs were written.

The elite classes, steeped in the classics and great books that teach readers how to think (especially symbolically), are always going to rule over the literal classes whose education is limited to getting the “right” answers, preparing for jobs and careers, and not really thinking about things symbolically.

Allan Bloom warned that modern America has this problem at the level of Hitler’s Germany.

The Real Fascination

Another example: People in the literal classes can’t quite understand why today’s youth are so intrigued by vampire books, movies, and television programs. “What is this fascination with vampires?” the literal classes ask.

The elite classes, well-versed in metaphor and symbolism, know better. They understand that vampires are symbols of something—something many young people struggle with.

Imagine a society made up of two major groups. First are the hard-working, regular people who live in middle-class neighborhoods, go to work every day, raise families, sleep during the night (because they have to go to their job tomorrow), send their kids to school in order to get a good career in their adult lives, etc.

The second group in society is made up of a few people who have trust funds, inherited wealth, can get in trouble with the law but get out of it relatively easily, stay up through the night at fancy balls and dinners, then go home in the early morning and sleep late into the day, and have more power, wealth, fun and entertaining lives, and sophisticated connections with other aristocrats far beyond the local community—and even around the world.

The first group envies the second, while the aristocratic second group hardly gives a thought to their “inferiors.” Parents of both groups warn their children not to mix with the other group—because it inevitably causes many problems.

This clearly defines two things: 1) an aristocratic society, like all elite societies that have existed in human history, and 2) every group of vampires portrayed in literature, juvenile fiction, and in movies and TV programs.

But the literal classes mostly miss this symbolism. “Why do the kids like vampires?” the literal classes ask.

Some literal writers even try to explain how youth like to be scared, so they love the idea of biting strangers dressed in black. So literal. So shallow.

Answer: The kids don’t love actual vampires, they love the idea of rising into a higher class. In high school, this is a driving passion for many teenagers. If movies are to be believed, it’s the driving theme for most students in most high schools.

In such an environment, vampires are the shortcut to social success. If one bites you (dates you, likes you, includes you in his group, etc.) you immediately climb to a higher social class. The highest social class, in fact.

The one that has the money, the power, the mystery, and the worldwide connections (rather than the homegrown limits of the coal mines, a job at Blue Bell’s Rammer Jammer, or a lifetime of alumni fundraising for the Friday Night Lights).

The fact that many parents tell you to ignore the vampires (“Don’t worry about high school cliques, or being popular. It won’t even matter after you graduate.”) just adds to the intrigue.

Vampires are aristocrats. Elites. People with enough money, power and connections to ignore the limits most people and families struggle with—as youth, and also as adults.

The kids instinctively understand this, though their literal parents may not.

The Old Tool

This language barrier isn’t new.

In aristocratic Britain, the upper classes pronounced words differently than the lower and working classes—so elites would always know who they were dealing with. In fact, the pronunciations were literal (pronounce every syllable) versus symbolic (skip syllables, if you’ve been trained by other aristos and know what to look for).

For example, the word Worchester was pronounced “wor-ches-ter” by the lower classes, but simply “wis-ter” by the nobles. Or the name St. John was pronounced “Saint John” by working classes but “Sinjin” by nobility (see Jane Eyre). There are thousands of similar words.

This boils down to two classes, the Literal versus Symbolic. Checkers versus Chess. “Tell me the right answer, so you can pass the test and someday get a good job,” versus “Tell me your opinion, because there are many possible correct answers, and our purpose is to help you learn how to think—so you can become a leader.”

These are how public schools versus elite prep schools, respectively, generally teach.

The Price of the Literal

Facts versus Metaphor. Precision versus Imagery. One Meaning versus Poetic Allegory.

Again, the elite classes are well educated in both of these dialects. The problem is that the middle and lower classes are not. They only know the literal meanings of words.

This is a growing concern, because it causes increased divisions between the elites and the regular people. The masses don’t understand what is happening to their society, because they don’t speak the language of metaphor. When President Obama promised, “If you want to keep your doctor [under Obamacare], you can keep your doctor,” the two classes heard very different things.

The literal classes heard: “If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Hearing this, they planned their family and business finances and voted accordingly.

The symbolic classes, trained in metaphor, heard the following: “If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor, or at least one that is just as good; or, even if you can’t keep your doctor under the new plan, the nation will be better off, so it’s worth the change anyway.”

The symbolic class knows that political promises are rhetoric, meant to win elections—not meant to actually, literally be fulfilled. The literal class is slowly realizing that this is the case, but they still feel lied to by each new candidate. In reality, they just don’t understand metaphorical language.

A teacher I know once shared the following quote by Groucho Marx with her class: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend; inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” One student was very frustrated with this little proverb. When questioned, the student said emotionally, “This is so cruel to dogs. Why would anyone want to read inside of a dog?”

When the literal class doesn’t easily and immediately understand symbolism, it will lose its freedoms to the elite ruling class that does.

The Missed Symbols

I wonder what people will say about the book and movie popularity of Divergent. It is a great symbolic attack on the modern public school system and the way we choose careers and jobs in the U.S., Canada, and Europe—but I bet there will be a number of homeschoolers, charter school and non-traditional educators and parents who miss some key points.

First: this is not a book for youth; the intermittent suggested sensuality that is predictable and “natural” for youth in crisis who depend upon each other without family support is not suitable for most youth.

Second: this book is for adults, and it may be the best promotion for homeschooling and other cutting-edge, new educational choices since…well, ever.

If non-traditional education seizes this opportunity, there will be a lot of support for Divergent, because people will understand its symbolism: Each person is different, and each person has unique genius inside.

The purpose of education is to help each student discover and develop his or her inner genius and passion, and use it to improve and serve the world. When the focus is on making every child fit in, it’s not education at all. At best it’s training, at worst brainwashing.

This is the overarching message of Divergent—but will it be lost on the literal class? I hope not.

We all can benefit from including more symbolic thinking in our reading. It’s like a new mantra for 21st Century leadership: Read more, think more, serve more. And look for symbols and metaphor in everything you read.

Join Oliver for Mentoring in the Classics >>


odemille Symbolic Language Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Funny: Imagine a Different America

April 17th, 2014 // 8:01 am @

Joke for Thought

The column was a joke (literally).800px Red state blue state.svg  300x185 Funny: Imagine a Different America But in addition to being funny, it really says some very interesting things.

Written by Joel Stein in Time magazine (March 24, 2014), it is a blueprint for how the United States should break into two separate nations.

Consider some of what Stein wrote:

• “We should peacefully break into two countries, one made of red states and one of blue. The red one would still be called the United States of America, since it would otherwise have to alter the lyrics of every song its citizens know. The blue one would be renamed something racially inclusive and long and hard to remember. The Exceedingly Long-Named Country would be free to have the laws it has always griped about not being able to pass. Instead of guns, the cops would carry Change.org petitions.”

• “Once the blue states were their own country, they would develop a better appreciation for the South, as a foreign country they could visit when Mexico seemed like too much effort and Canada too little…. A place with the best breakfasts in the entire world. Where it’s easy to navigate since everyone speaks English, but figuring stuff out is still a bit of a fun challenge because, after all, it’s not really English. A place where you can shoot guns, drive cars with combustion engines and drink beer that isn’t painfully bitter—all at the same time.”

• “This split would in no way prevent Southerners [and Westerners] from vacationing up North for the same reasons they always have: they have relatives there and have no choice.”

Again, though meant as a joke, this describes some of the real differences between the Blue and Red states. Klein continues:

• “The South…could pass laws every month not to raise its debt ceiling since, let’s face it, no one is going to lend a Southerner money.” The North “could make environmental treaties with foreign nations about how to extract natural resources, since they’ll have no natural resources anyway.”

Very funny.

The Un-United States

What’s missing in Stein’s fictional proposal is how the southern red states and the western red states will get along. Since they won’t, they’ll just split too.

And what about the swing states? Florida, Ohio and West Virginia have a lot more in common with each other than most of their geographical neighbors, so maybe they’ll break away and create a fourth nation.

Colorado is part of the blue states anyway, so geography is already archaic in the new system.

But that’s just the beginning. Nevada and Utah are basically the opposite of each other, but Nevada is also the opposite of California—in a totally different way.

Nevada can’t co-exist well with either, but it can connect with Arizona and Montana.

Texas will probably want to its own nation. And that’s just the start…

Time to Stop Laughing

The more I think about it, the less funny it is. People who just want Washington to get along sometimes miss a key truth: the conflict in Washington is a lot less extreme than the conflict would be between capitol cities of competing nations.

As John Jay wrote in Federalist Paper 5:

“Should the people of America divide themselves into three or four nations…envy and jealousy would soon extinguish confidence and affection, and the partial interests of each…instead of the general interests of all America, would be the only objects of their policy and disputes. [Afterwards], like most other bordering nations, they would always be…involved in disputes and wars [with each other].”

The result, Federalist 5 said, would be, first, that America would be weak against all its foreign enemies, and second, the new blocs of states would be dangerous “and formidable only to each other.”

Why Washington Feels Broken

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and laugh at ourselves.

Yes, Washington can be a frustrating, angry, and dysfunctional place, but it could be a lot worse. Southern and Northern California could be two separate nations, for example. Or Michigan and Ohio. Atlanta and Athens, Georgia. Manhattan and the Bronx.

Talk about conflict. The thought makes Democrat versus Republican feel tame.

The U.S. is not, at it’s essence, federal. The Founders created the federal government as a national security entity that would protect, and loosely cobble together, thirteen distinct states.

When the federal government tries to homogenize fifty unique states, treating them with a one-size-fits-all mentality, the result is dysfunction.

Washington feels “broken” today because it is. It is trying to do something it was never designed for.


odemille Funny: Imagine a Different America Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Community &Culture &Current Events &Foreign Affairs &Government &Politics

Are You Part of TV World (A Different Way to Get the News)

March 21st, 2014 // 12:01 pm @

Where to Look

I keep getting asked what I read to study current events. I actually taught a whole class on this recently—and it’s still available.tv 300x225 Are You Part of TV World (A Different Way to Get the News) By taking this class, you’ll get the real scoop on the best current events publications.

In this article, I’ll just share the Cliff’s Notes version. Read Foreign Affairs, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and The Economist.

There. That’s it.


But there is a deeper way to think about this. To begin, there is actually a bit of a problem with the question itself: “What should I read to study current events?” The real answer is, “Everything.” Read a lot. If you’re conservative, read conservative and liberal publications. If you’re liberal, read liberal and conservative periodicals. You can’t study current events from one political view—not if you want to really know what’s happening.

Compare and Contrast

This goes for television and radio as well. When I watch a certain event to see how it is reported in the news, I always see what MSNBC and Fox News both have to say. Then I watch CNN and one of the networks, usually ABC or CBS, for their views as well. Bloomberg Television, C-Span, and PBS news shows often add interesting nuances.

But reading is better than watching. The NY Times and Wall Street Journal are fun to compare. USA Today and various online thought leaders share vital out-of-the-box insights. I could go on and on. Read. Read a lot. Read more.

But that’s only half of the message. The other half is a bit counter-intuitive, but it is still very important.

One of the problems with looking for one or two publications to read is that it limits us to one or two publications. This brings us to the main point: It is a major problem when we only get our news from news outlets.

To really know what’s going on in our world, you have to get beyond the news. Behind the news, under the news. You have to feel what the people are feeling, and dig to get a sense of what is happening in their culture. Their daily lives.

Culture and Events

To do this, I read lots of non-news publications. They are incredibly insightful. I read men’s magazines (like Men’s Health, Esquire, GQ, etc.), women’s magazines (Vanity Fair, More, Good Housekeeping, etc.), variety magazines (Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Via), cultural magazines (The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Harper’s, etc.), specialty magazines (Harvard Business Review, Guns and Ammo, Yoga Journal, etc.), science magazines (Psychology Today, Prevention, Popular Science, etc.), and more. These teach as much about current events as any news publication.

For example, I like to go to Barnes and Noble and grab a copy of Yoga Journal, Guns and Ammo, Entertainment Weekly, and Harvard Business Review. Then I read the main articles in each, in one sitting. It’s fascinating. These four publications are written to very different audiences, as you might have gathered, and they use different vocabularies, examples, assumptions, and writing styles. Yet all are quality publications with important articles. Add TV Guide to these four and you’ve got a manual on current America—like it or not.

Together they give the reader a cross-section insight into current events, much more than you could get by concurrently reading a top conservative magazine (say, The Weekly Standard) and liberal periodical (for example, The Nation). The ads in each of these four magazines listed above teach almost as much, sometimes more, than the articles. Reading non-news publications along with news is the key to really understanding current events.

Take off the Rose Glasses

Really. It is important, however, to read them differently than typical readers. Don’t read non-news periodicals looking for literal news. Read them to see what things they talk about that are newsworthy. Read like an anthropologist, looking for interesting trends and groups in modern society that could influence the world.

And think, think deeply, while you read. What does each article say (implicitly as well as explicitly) about our modern society? What trends does it portend? What assumptions does each author make about our current world, and what does this tell you about our culture?

Become a voracious reader. Turn TV World into Thinking World, at least in your own life. Oh, and ask the same kinds of questions when/if you watch television. We live in an Information Age, but we need more people who treat it like a Thinking Age.


odemille Are You Part of TV World (A Different Way to Get the News) Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Education &Generations &Information Age &Statesmanship

Dictionary Freedom: It’s Fun!

March 17th, 2014 // 11:39 am @

Finding Words

glossary Dictionary Freedom: Its Fun!Let’s go deep. Or really basic, depending on your viewpoint. Socrates is credited with saying that the definition of terms is the beginning of wisdom. Sometimes defining things can be a bit overwhelming, and that’s the case in our topic today. What am I talking about?

Well, I was reading through the compact edition of the Oxford English Thesaurus (a really fun read—try it sometime), and I came to the word “Political.” The list of synonyms was interesting to me: governmental, constitutional, ministerial, parliamentary, diplomatic, legislative, administrative, bureaucratic; party, militant, factional, partisan.

The first time through, I was struck by the number of ways governments can try to control people. But something else was bothering me, in the back of my mind, so I read through the list again to see if I could figure it out. I still wasn’t sure. “Maybe it’s that there’s a strong legislative and also executive focus,” I mused to myself, “but the judicial power of government is left out. As if the judiciary is really not political,” I laughed.

Then I furrowed my brow. “Or maybe it’s that this list is missing so many synonyms,” I thought. I quickly skimmed through the pages and found the word “government,” to see it if added more depth or nuance. It added the following words: executive, regime, authority, directorate, council, cabinet, ministry, regulation, supervision.

“Interesting,” I thought. I had planned to look up each of the synonyms above, one at a time, so I went ahead and turned to the entry for “constitutional.” It added the synonyms statutory, chartered, vested, official, and sanctioned.

Sharing Discoveries

“This isn’t really what was bothering me,” I realized. “It’s not the need for more synonyms. It must be something else.” I wondered what it could be. While I was thinking about this, I reviewed this growing list of synonyms and shook my head. I said aloud, “That’s a lot of government control!”

Then I got it. Somehow, the thing that had been bothering me made it into my consciousness. It was a Eureka! moment. I walked through the house, looking for Rachel or one of the kids to share my new discovery with. Nobody was awake, since it was very late at night, so I opened my laptop and started writing. This is too good not to share, after all.

What was my big epiphany? Simply this: None of the synonyms seem to have anything to do with the people. The word “constitutional” refers to rules written by the people to the government, but most people today don’t realize this. None of the other words were about the people at all, except the word “party,” meaning political parties.

That’s something. I’m not sure what it means, but in our modern language the words “political” and “constitutional” only have one major synonym that includes the people—and that one refers to political parties. Sad.

My question is, “Why?”

Citizens and Leaders

In the time of the American founding, both words held the connotation of actions and choices by the people. Why isn’t “election” or “citizenship” listed as a synonym under either in today’s dictionary? In fact, I turned to these words and found that the synonyms of “citizen” are subject, passport holder, native, resident, denizen.

“Denizen?” That’s an interesting way to view the regular people. In fact, all of these synonyms are passive, none of them are active. None of them present the citizen as a leader, as the true head of the nation.

This is consistent with our modern world, I guess, but it is still wrong. We’ve come to see governments as rulers, and people as subjects. Period. That’s sad.

While I was analyzing this, I realized that something was still bothering me. There was still something tugging at the back of my mind. “What is it?” I asked. I still had my bookmark tucked into the page where the word “political” is found, so I turned back to it and reread the synonyms. Then I noticed something, and everything clicked.

A Sharp Contrast

The word right above “political” is “politic.” Just read this list of synonyms of “politic,” and think about how these relate to politics: wise, prudent, sensible, judicious, canny, sagacious, shrewd, astute, advantageous, beneficial, profitable.

What do any of these have to do with the political world? I mean, they should be connected. They really should. But they hardly ever are.

“Wow!” I said aloud. “This is really interesting. I love reading the dictionary.” Just compare these two lists:

Synonyms of “Political”











Synonyms of “Politic”

Does anyone else see the irony? Bureaucratic paired with Astute? Partisan with Profitable? Really? Governmental paired with Wise? It’s like a Mark Twain Guide to Preparing for the S.A.T.s.

And yes, both words, “political” and “politic”, come from the same root word, the Greek politikos, meaning “statesman,” “leader of the city,” or in modern terms, “leader of the nation.”

Decline is real.

Let’s read more dictionaries.



odemille Dictionary Freedom: Its Fun! Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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The Future of Feminism

January 9th, 2014 // 9:00 am @

wecandoit The Future of FeminismIt could be over. The whole, centuries-long debate between men and women, as well as between women and women, over the best role for women, may be coming to an end.

Ironically, this hinges not so much on women or men, but on both. And on children too.

Let me explain.

Feminism has progressed through several phases in history.

  1. First, women demanded voting and other basic equality with men.
  2. Second, they argued for the basic intrinsic equality of both genders.
  3. Third, they sought legal equality in the Equal Rights Amendment era.

All of these strategies made sense to men and women, even those who disagreed with the various leaders and agendas of feminism. After all, the idea of seeking equitable treatment and rights is basic to most Americans.

But at some point, starting in the 1980s, feminism took several interesting, and surprising, turns. Most men were shocked by the intensity of the woman vs. woman debate between those who argued that all women should have full-time careers and those who felt that such a choice was a downgrade for women, that their best work was done in the home.

This was followed by the “We Can Have It All” era, where many young women idealized having both full-time careers and all the benefits and rewards of full-time homemaking. One side said this was the ideal, another side argued that this was a mere illusion.

And finally, in the most recent evolution of feminist debates, dubbed “The Mommy Wars” by the media, some promoters of women in careers and some who believe that homemaking is the female ideal faced off in increasingly tense and extremely strong language.

By this point in the dialogue, men were basically left out of the conversation. National reports showed that more women than men are in college, and that men’s financial outlook is in decline while the earning future for women is bright.

Feminism was still a passionate topic, but the battling sides were made up almost exclusively of women.

That brings us to today. We now seem to be entering yet another major era of this discussion, but this time men are back in the conversation. They are front and center, in fact.

Women are increasingly talking about what men should, or shouldn’t, be. The idea seems to be that if men would just get their act together, many of the modern problems faced by women would be solved.

Like past battles, this one tends to anger almost everyone who thinks about it. One side makes the case that women are better off just living independently. They can have men in their life, if they choose, as long as they don’t become dependent on a man.

In fact, this view seems to accept that men will come and go, and that ultimately a woman has herself, her education and career, and a few close (women) friends that she can really depend on.

Her battles, in this narrative, are against enemies and frenemies, who are nearly always other women — not against men.

This worldview shows up in numerous recent movies and a host of articles in women’s magazines. Watch popular women’s talk shows, and this perspective is nearly always accepted as a fundamental — and undebatable — assumption.

On the other side is a growing view that men and women are very different, that each should fully engage their differences, and that both are happiest when this occurs.

As I said, this is ruffling feathers wherever the new view is shared.

Many women who agree with the historical goals of feminism — and men who view themselves as enlightened, modern, sensitive males — find this newly popular perspective corrupt, positively medieval, and above all, baffling.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this new era of discussion about men and women is that the majority view (the “Independent Woman”) patently refuses to even entertain the growing new perspective (“Real Men/Real Women”).

It is similar to when feminism first began, and men just ignored it, discounted it, or perhaps even laughed at it. This is how the current majority Independent Woman crowd is treating the growing Real Man/New Women minority.

In case you haven’t yet heard this new perspective, it goes something like this:

  • Men are happiest when they are deeply involved in a chosen life mission that centers around their deepest interests and passions, their life purpose.
  • Women want just such a man; anything less is a letdown to them.
  • Men want a woman who will support them in this purpose and help them achieve it.
  • Women are happiest when they are helping a man who is deeply engrossed in such a life mission, and raising sons who will someday pursue just such a mission and daughters who will help a man do this as well.

For the Independent Woman crowd, the Real Man/Real Woman view sounds a lot like a modern return to the worst elements of old-style patriarchy, the very reason that feminism was invented.

But as feminism proved, just ignoring this growing minority perspective isn’t going to make it go away.

A lot of people, both men and women, swear by this rising view. For them, women are equal to men, and should have all the same opportunities in education and work. And the happiest equal men and women, they maintain, follow these simple guidelines.

Men want a woman who above all wants to support him and raise a family, and women want a man who gives his life to a central purpose and raising a family.

If a man doesn’t have a life mission, a great purpose, he isn’t going to be very happy. And his woman won’t be very impressed with him. Neither will she feel valued or fulfilled in a marriage if her spouse does not depend on her to help in a real, important purpose.

This is the immediate future of feminism, the debate between the Independent Woman viewpoint and the Real Man/Real Woman perspective. Like I said, this is making a lot of people angry.

On the humorous side, this really is a return to the beginning of the whole debate about feminism. The first shall be last and the last shall be first, I guess.

But there is one big difference this time: the Independent Woman crowd is in the majority — at least in the media, academia, government, and other centers of pop culture.

How this difference impacts the debate remains to be seen.

Just to be clear, I agree with the Real Man/Real Woman side of this argument. I’m just fine with men or women being fully independent. I think we should all have the freedom to choose what we want, and the fact that my daughters (I have 5) have as many options as my sons makes me very happy.

I also think that the happiest men are passionately focused on a great life purpose, and the happiest women are married to such men — where they help each other in the most important parts of life.

Are they equal? Of course. Are they different? Of course. Should this be used as an excuse for men to control women, or for women to control men? Of course not.

But here’s the real problem: Our modern society is structured by the elitist class to convince the rest of us not to engage a central life mission or purpose. We are taught to get an education that will give us a job, a career, working for corporations and institutions run by the upper class. We are taught that our great life passions and interests are at best hobbies.

We are taught that well-paid professional drone work is the ideal — for men and for women. We are taught that children should be trained in schools run by the policies of elitists, seeking the goals outlined by elitists for those in the middle and lower classes.

This message is being taught in nearly every school in modern America. It is being promoted from Hollywood, and encouraged by Madison Avenue. It is being increasingly regulated and enforced from Washington.

Worst of all, more and more parents teach this message to their kids: “Get good grades, get into a good college, get a good career, and spend most of your adult hours working for someone else’s profit and power. This is the key to a happy life.”

As long as this lie dominates our society, a majority of men and women are going to miss out on real life. That’s the future of feminism, manhoodism, childhoodism, socialism, and capitalism.

It’s a serious problem.

For men, women, and children.

And the only thing that has any chance of changing it is Real Man/Real Woman ism. Real Men and Real Women find a great life purpose and give their all for it. And, where possible, they do this together. This is the key to a happy life.

That’s where I stand. I hope you do too.


odemille The Future of Feminism Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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