Previously in this series, we have discussed the results of a lack of justice in the multitude of ways I dubbed selfish, to use an umbrella term. In this article, I would like to reverse course and examine what happens when there is an excess of justice, a state which I am going to call the servile.
This, more so than our previous descriptor, conjures up legalistic images and hearkens back to a time where servitude or slavery roamed the earth. Nevertheless, as I mentioned before, we must enter into this essay with the an extra-legal mindset and seek to root these deficiencies or excesses out of our character, rather than on some grand political scale.
With that out of the way, let us examine this excess of Justice.
The servile man may, at first, appear to be the more sociable; indeed, he is often the sort of man that our modern society attempts to mold. Servility could be seen as a “false virtue” of sorts though. There are two fatal flaws which pull this man’s demeanor and actions out of the realm of virtue and into the realm of vice: approval seeking and lack of self-respect.
- Approval Seeking: The servile often appears to be doing things out of the goodness of his heart, yet their self-sacrificing action is done instead for recognition or reward, rather than out of love. They believe that by playing the part of the servant and waiting on someone hand and foot, they can finally find love and appreciation. This sort of concept turns many men into a virtual time-bomb, as they further and further degrade themselves to chase the highs of acknowledgement until, frustrated by their lack of success, they explode. Nice guys are a fantastic example of this.
- Lack of Self-Respect: These are the breed of men who, rather than being overly agreeable for rewards, are afraid, unwilling, or believe they are unable to draw boundaries. These are your stereotypical “yes men” who will conform their actions and lives to the demands of others because they do not know how to wield the vitality and energy they were born with. They are seen as “whipped” by others in their lives, although it is not merely by women. The demands of work and family can also be enough to cause men to erase their boundaries, lose their self-respect, and be dragged along by the currents of others, unable to leave to pursue their own path.
One of the biggest pre-requisites to understanding this issue is recognizing who this typically affects. The first type, as mentioned above, translates fairly well into the territory of nice guys. Many Christian men also fall into this bracket, however, even without desiring female attention. This is due to a misunderstanding in the nature of self-sacrifice and love; they believe that these are indeed good things, but their pursuit of them is always done for the highs of recognition. There is often an air of false modesty around these men, as they relish in the benefits they receive from acts of charity or service.
Many in the second bracket of servility grew up dominated by the feminine, without a masculine presence in the household. This is a lamentable state, one which nevertheless harms children, particularly boys. Their self-respect and confidence have waned, either out of fear of use or out of atrophy. If this is ever to come out, it can often do so in explosive and unrefined ways. Their inability to say no or to be a servant to others is done for many of the same reasons as the first bracket, but they merely wish to avoid losing their current precarious status in the eyes of others, rather than have additional recognition bestowed on them.
The remedies for both of these excesses of justice may seem quite different, when they are in actuality quite similar.
- Reflect on your motivations for actions.
- Work on building your character which can grant you the proper amount of self-respect.
- Improve your self-talk so that you push back on any intrusive thoughts that keep you mired in this state.
- Follow Jordan Peterson’s advice: Treat yourself like someone who deserves to be helped.
We are living in an era where a whole generation of men is facing the incentives to adopt this incorrect model of behavior. Whether it’s by their lack of a masculine role-model, their lack of initiation into manhood, their trouble with the fairer sex, or merely the pressures of work and life, this is a dangerous attitude that does not bode well for our civilization.
This is one of the main reasons why we started this project back in 2019. To bring awareness and antidotes to men who seek to develop a virtuous, noble character and foster their masculine spirit. It takes all of us to do our part to conquer the servile passions in us. Root them out from your own life, raise your sons in godly masculinity, and help your brothers develop proper self-respect and just attitudes towards all. We will continue to expound upon remedies for this scenario in the future, given the severity of the situation for so many young men.
The biggest takeaways from this negative archetype are that in order to be just, we must:
- Understand the need for boundaries.
- Recognize the dignity of our ourselves.
- Understand our motivations for charity and service.
Coming up, we shall dive into excesses and deficiencies of fortitude, or courage, attributes which may be very familiar to most modern men. Until then, check out our episodes on justice below to continue learning how you can be a just man.