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Canceling all that subjugation requires overcoming the relevant powers of nature, or, in sum (and for the sake of being sure), deny nature….p>Now, of all the possible virtues, or parts of virtues, manliness seems most to illustrate virtue by not being either in one’s interest (narrowly understood) or defined by principle. br> /p> /blockquote> Mansfield’s thesis is that manliness still exists whether we like it or not, and that most of us do not like it because it threatens the gender-neutral society we have so carefully constructed. Ours is a society in which one slip of a pronoun can rouse suspicions of sexism; a society that prefers role models to heroes, weakness to strength, and guilt to pride in order to fashion the “incentives” that encourage us to become rationally controlled citizens. The rationally controlled society, says Mansfield, “fears courage more than fear,” and so does everything it can to “encourage and compel behavior conspicuously lacking in drama.”
Manliness is conspicuously dramatic, not always controlled, and occasionally irrational because it is all about taking risks, taking charge, and taking credit, often in a loud, commanding voice. Confronted by this 800-pound gorilla, today’s Sensitive Man murmurs, “This rationally controlled society ain’t big enough for both of us,” and Americans, clutching their incentives, rush to agree with him.
The heyday of manliness was the world of Greek antiquity, where loud, commanding voices were the norm; Stentor had a voice like brass, Achilles never spoke below a yell, and women were akuron (lacking in authority). The aristocratic male’s most prized quality was thumos or “spiritedness,” a state of bristling, pawing-the-dirt fighting trim now associated with low-class drunken louts. Manliness in ancient Greece was the rule rather than the exception, respected and even cherished by the kind of men who today would look down on it: poets and philosophers.
MANLINESS LOST SOME OF ITS SHEEN during the church-dominated Middle Ages when pride became a sin and earthly triumphs took a back seat to the rewards of the afterlife. Nicolo Machiavelli, writing at the height of Renaissance humanism, took exception to medieval passivity and urged men to seek earthly rewards and power, but warned them to be careful how they went about it. Brute force alone no longer works, said the author of that guidebook to deceit, The Prince; the lion must become a fox when the situation called for it. Slyness, duplicity, and indirection — woman’s ways — became the keys to success.
It’s hard to believe that Thomas Hobbes, of all people, could do anything to thwart manliness. He was the grim political philosopher who famously called life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” That sounds like the prelude to a good free-for-all — and it is, which is why Hobbes saw the need for iron control. To prevent what he called the “war of all against all” he conceived of an all-powerful state, a government so big and so ubiquitous that nobody could cause any trouble. To emphasize the size of the state he had in mind, he called his treatise Leviathan and commanded its citizens to “lay down your right.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online