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Jonathan Culbreath (’17)
Jonathan Culbreath (’17)

The vision of “strong” masculinity promoted by the popular social-media personality Andrew Tate “is both alien and inferior to Christian asceticism, which serves transcendent ends,” writes alumnus author Jonathan Culbreath (’17) in First Things. Mr. Culbreath’s assessment is timely. Tate’s popularity has exploded in recent years, especially among secular young men starved for examples of masculine virtue in a culture dominated by extreme forms of feminism.

Tate promotes stringent forms of ascetical self-discipline, but, Mr. Culbreath observes, that is simply not enough. “Where exactly does this ascetism lead? Toward what vision of the good?” he asks. “Self-discipline can be directed toward many virtuous ends. It can also be used for lower, amoral purposes like making money, gaining status, and acquiring power.” The Christian tradition, by contrast, integrates self-discipline within a vision of life as self-emptying love. “A Christian is called to unconditional and unreserved self-emptying, in imitation of Christ’s own kenosis, whereby he fulfilled perfectly the will of his Father.”

Although Tate’s following is largely among secular men, Mr. Culbreath contends that even the few Christian sympathizers he has attracted are too many. “The ills of progressive feminism do not warrant the rationalization of male narcissism in any context,” he writes. “Christian men must be on guard lest they turn marriage itself from its original ascetical purpose and make it into just another protected outlet for their libido dominandi.”