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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Reagan Education Secretary Bill Bennett suggested to conservatives gathered in the nation’s capital on Saturday that the moral restoration of the United States demands solving an identity crisis among American males.

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“We need to bring that word ‘virtues’ back and put the word ‘values’ on the shelf,” said Bennett, a radio host, conservative commentator, and author of the Book of Virtues, to religious conservative activists gathered for the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in downtown Washington, D.C.

Bennett said that he has written a new book for the decade, “The Book of Man,” which is aimed at teaching boys key lessons on the path to manhood.

“We have a man problem in American society, and we need to address it,” Bennett said.

Bennett cited figures showing a decline in male participation in the workforce, education, and life commitments.

“Men are not marrying, not making the commitments in the way at they used to,” Bennett added.

“Women have said, women I’ve met, daughters of friends of mine in their 20s and 30s, have said, ‘Where are the men? Where are the men? Where are the men we want to marry, where are the men we want to raise our children with?’”

Bennett pointed to the male dropout rate at college. The ratio of women to men at the beginning of college (55 percent female, 45 male) increases by the time of graduation to 62 percent female, 38 percent male, said Bennett. He added that the problem is worse at black colleges, where the graduation ratio can be 70 percent female, and 30 percent male.

“We are raising a lot of great boys into men in this society… but we’re not raising enough,” continued Bennett. He said that young men are exposed to a “dizzying array of confusing signals” from cultural images glorifying “hood culture,” to violence against women, and “the gay culture.”

“You have to be taught, you have modeling, you have to have mentors, you have to have men in your lives,” Bennet said to youth who are learning how to become adult men. Bennet proudly mentioned his son, a Princeton graduate, and newly commissioned 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Marines.

Bennett added that while the task of mentoring is necessary, the immediate political priorities in restoring the United States to moral and economic health also demand that conservatives focus on the upcoming U.S. elections, the budget, jobs, and the economy.

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