What angers these men is unfair competition from illegal immigrants; the outsourcing of jobs to low wage workers overseas; and the squandering of tax dollars on "victim" groups. For these men, writes Hubbell, the symbol of what is wrong with America is Hillary Clinton who is loathed by them with a passion.
It's no accident that the kind of man being described by Hubbell also exists in Australia. Both Australia and the US had their frontiersmen, their pioneering settlers. This role required a hardy masculinity characterised by self-reliance and resourcefulness.
The frontiersman qualities of Hubbell's Angry White Men are clear in the following passages of his column:
The Angry White Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun to defend his home and his country ...
The Angry White Man is not a metrosexual, a homosexual or a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina — he got his people together and got the hell out, then went back in to rescue those too helpless and stupid to help themselves, often as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter ...
He’s a man’s man, the kind of guy who likes to play poker, watch football, hunt white-tailed deer, call turkeys, play golf, spend a few bucks at a strip club once in a blue moon, change his own oil and build things. He coaches baseball, soccer and football teams and doesn’t ask for a penny. He’s the kind of guy who can put an addition on his house with a couple of friends, drill an oil well, weld a new bumper for his truck, design a factory and publish books. He can fill a train with 100,000 tons of coal and get it to the power plant on time so that you keep the lights on and never know what it took to flip that light switch.
Women either love him or hate him, but they know he’s a man, not a dishrag. If they’re looking for someone to walk all over, they’ve got the wrong guy ...
There is much to admire in such men. Hubbell presents them to us as an ideal type, as a genuinely masculine group of men who are proudly hard-working and capable.
What Hubbell misses, though, are the flaws in the frontiersman ethos. It's one thing to be self-reliant and resourceful when you are left to yourself on a homestead in a small pioneering community. These qualities aren't sufficient, though, in a larger, more settled society. Men are then called on to defend a particular civilisation.
I'll try to describe the problem this way. I think it's true that many white men think the way that Hubbell claims they do. They believe that they can make their way regardless of what life throws at them and that this defines masculine strength. This has the virtue of safeguarding white men from a passive victim group mentality; however, it also leads to an overconfident individualism, in which a defence of the culture and institutions of their civilisation is neglected.
We are no longer frontiersmen. We need a masculine ideal which continues to emphasise resilience, but which also holds us to a responsibility to defend our civilisation. This means identifying oneself as part of a larger whole, to which some of our individual strength is directed. It means taking on a leadership role not only within a business or a family, but also in the realms of politics and culture.
Hubbell thinks that his Angry White Men might act as spoilers to someone like Hillary on election day. This, though, is a setting of their sights too low. It reflects the problem with the masculine ideal as it stands now amongst white men in America. It should be thought natural that such men, capable and resourceful as they are, would act to lead society at all levels. Instead, they are consigned to the role of politically ignored spoilers, a role which should flag the failure in modern America of the frontiersman ethos.
Hat tip: reader David