Opinion

Reversing The Toxic Trend In Publishing: Why Your Son Needs To Read Camp Valor

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Scott McEwen and Hof Williams Co-Authors, 'Camp Valor'

Our nation, and the core values that helped build it (and all great nations), is under attack by the insidious theory of “Toxic Masculinity,” now rapidly being adopted both knowingly and unknowingly in education, publishing, the media and by policymakers in the United States.

While we all suffer as a result, the chief victim is the American boy, who is now being taught not only that his very gender is toxic, but also that personal and team achievement, competition, leadership, physical and mental independence and traditional American values are also toxic — especially when these values and traits are exhibited and embraced by males.

Boys are being drugged to suppress their energy instead of challenged to apply it. Boys are punished for being born different and for being blessed with different gifts than girls.

Instead of celebrating those gifts and opening a fair playing field for both sexes, the bar is lowered, and everyone wins a trophy but loses the chance to actually win. High achievers — both male and female — don’t want that, and nobody should who cares about the United States maintaining its leading role in the world.

The effects of toxic masculinity are clearly destructive to our culture and to the health of our children. They are poisonous to the society they grow into.

This has all been well documented by the work of Dr. Jordan Peterson (who everyone should read and follow) and is the subject of much airtime by Tucker Carlson. Both Peterson and Carlson are gravely concerned about where this sinister movement is taking us.

The question now is what do you and I do about it? How do we turn the tide back? One way to do this is to change the narrative told to our children and to boys.

The book “Camp Valor” was our way of creating an antidote. Its credo is the antithesis to the theory of toxic masculinity and the overwhelmingly “progressive” media. “Camp Valor” encourages and rewards those exact traits that have been demonized as toxic — achievement, leadership, physical and mental independence and traditional American values.

Why does this book matter?

The book itself doesn’t matter, the message does. There are people out there — parents and kids — who need to hear something that contradicts the insidious narrative of Toxic Masculinity. They are yearning to know that someone has their interests at heart and has gone to great lengths to create a world for them to engage with.

Boys and girls — especially boys who are sadly reading less and less — need to have something to read that tells them it’s ok to be a boy and that shows them how to overcome challenges without sacrificing their values. We should not be ashamed to encourage boys to want to grow up to be strong men, to be competent and to prevail in the darkest of circumstances.

Camp Valor embraces these concepts and the notion that young men should strive to be self-reliant. These are the core lessons and values of our Special Forces, lessons we dared to put into a book for children and young adults.

Don’t publishers already know this?

No. And this is scary. We believe books have capacity to capture and profoundly shape a mind like no other medium. And the publishing industry, which has the most powerful pipeline into the minds of our children — especially in the YA space — is deeply influenced by the theories of Toxic Masculinity.

Even with the power of a #1 Best Selling author, nearly all major publishers passed on this book.

Shortly after it was published, “Camp Valor” was the subject of a piece by Karen Markowicz in the New York Post titled “This pro-America Book could buck the left wing YA trend.” Markowicz ends her article with a question about whether a book like Camp Valor can actually succeed, meaning is there an audience that actually cares about a book for boys with these values?  That is a great question and most publishers were betting no.

Two days later, the book reached #1 in 11 categories in Amazon.

Amazon sold out of hardcovers several hours after a segment on Fox and Friends. Marc Resnick, the book’s editor at St. Martin’s Press, said, “We obviously believed in Camp Valor and anticipated a positive outcome. But there’s quite honestly a risk in this type of a book, and we were very surprised at the level of interest. We did not expect it to be an immediate Amazon best seller and we are doing everything now we can to catch up to demand.”

The story must be told.

The publishing industry, authors and media need to know this audience exists, or they will ignore it, and TV, Streaming services and film will follow suit. What is at stake is far bigger than a single book.

On Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade pointed out that seven of the top ten bestselling YA books have a female protagonist. Audiences need to let publishers know they want books like “Camp Valor,” or next year, that number will be 8 out of ten, and not only will boys inevitably read less, but the lessons they will absorb will only reinforce the undermining effects of Toxic Masculinity.

It’s critical to act.

Jon Krakauer understood what happens if we don’t do something. In the last pages of his masterful book, “Where Men Win Glory: the Odyssey of Pat Tillman,” he quotes Lee Harris’ dire warning:

In the West, we are perilously getting down to our last man. Liberal democracy, among us … is eliminating the alpha males from our midst and at a dizzyingly accelerating rate.  But in Muslim societies, the alpha male is alive and well. While we in America are drugging our alpha boys with Ritalin, the Muslims are doing everything in their power to encourage their alpha boys to be tough, aggressive, and ruthless …

To rid your society of high-testosterone alpha males may bring peace and quiet; but if you have an enemy that is building up an army of alpha boys trained to hate you fanatically and who have vowed to destroy you, you will be committing suicide. It may take years or decades before you realize what you have done, but by that time it will be far too late to reverse your course.

The end of testosterone in the West alone will not culminate in the end of history, but it may well culminate in the end of the West.

Krakauer ends his book by writing about Tillman’s “robust masculinity, and its corollary, his willingness to stand up and fight.” Right now we need to embrace this message and stand up and make sure it is heard.

Scott McEwen is the co-author of New York Times #1 Besteller American Sniper and Camp Valor. Hof Williams is the co-author of Camp Valor.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.