“Walk Like a Man, Talk Like a Man”

My father believed in progress almost to the end of his life, when changing his mind would scarcely have made any difference.  Like most liberals, he regarded traditional institutions as so many barriers to man’s continued improvement, and yet, like most good men who are liberals, his head was contradicted by his heart: He despised the British monarchy, but he was willing to fight to defend the rights of the Stuarts.

Liberals are almost always wrong in their principles, but that does not automatically make them bad men.  I do not think my father necessarily believed in the institution of marriage per se, but he was intensely loyal to his own wife, and he despised men who broke the marriage bond.  He disliked any display of nationalism and viewed the flag-waving, oath-taking chauvinism of the 1950’s with contempt; yet, at the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted more than once in the Marines, though, each time, the irregularity of his diphtheria-scarred heart betrayed him to the medical examiners.

Though he made no complaints against homosexuals, he loathed actors (among other effeminate men), especially actors who came to imagine that they were as tough as the heroes they portrayed.  I can imagine him coming to me now and asking what had happened to American men that so many had gone homosexual or had become so effeminate that they drove their wives into lesbianism; what sort of...

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