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VICTOR JOECKS: In defense of the values that get you canceled

The traditional values that get people canceled are the ones people need most.

Harrison Butker is a field goal kicker with the Kansas City Chiefs. Earlier this month, he gave the commencement address at Benedictine College. Both Butker and the school are Catholic. What he said wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone vaguely familiar with Catholic teachings or the Bible generally.

That didn’t stop leftists from having a collective meltdown over comments such as this.

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career?” he said. “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

He then applauded his own wife for embracing “her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” He urged men to be involved in their families and to fight “against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things.”

For promoting family and recognizing differences between men and women, he received a vicious backlash from the left. Vox declared his speech “misogynistic.” A Kansas City Star columnist said the Chiefs should fire him and replace him with a female kicker. Jonathan Beane, the senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at the NFL, said, “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

But Butker is right. Start by moving past the strawman version of his statement — that all women should abandon their careers and be only homemakers. He didn’t say that. He said that most women in the audience are most excited about their future families.

And they should be. For the vast majority of both women and men having a family will provide more meaning and purpose than a job ever could. Your promotion can’t hold your hand. You can hug your money, but it won’t hug you back. Children provide parents with a living legacy and, hopefully, grandkids.

Consider the irony. The left despises capitalism, the greatest wealth creation engine in human history, yet urges women to find meaning in life by climbing the corporate ladder.

The statistics support the wisdom of Butker’s advice. As Brad Wilcox lays out in his indispensable book “Get Married,” married women are happier and wealthier. They report lives with more meaning and less loneliness. The long-term alternative for single, childless adults is sobering. “Many single, childless adults will end up aging and dying essentially alone, largely unvisited and uncared for in their final years by anyone but a nursing-home attendant,” Wilcox writes.

A 22-year-old can’t know what it’s like to be 40, 60 or 80 years old. But they can learn from their elders, avoiding mistakes and imitating wise choices. Healthy societies nudge young adults toward decisions, such as marriage, that produce long-term benefits even if they seem daunting in the moment. Traditions, like the values Butker promoted, are the solutions to problems society’s forgotten about.

You know who understands this? The very elites who attack Butker. They’re among those most likely to get and stay married. If only they would encourage young people to follow their example, not their rhetoric. Even those who don’t get married benefit from understanding the trade-offs of their decision. If you know something such as loneliness is a downside, you have a better chance of mitigating it.

Butker may have earned the disdain of the leftists who dominate the culture’s commanding heights. But if a college graduate wants to increase her chances of personal happiness, she’ll consider his advice.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on X.

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