February 18, 2009

Men, too manly or not manly enough... for self-government.

"Hobbes argued that men's violent hypermasculinity made them ineligible for the disciplined and mature enterprise of self-government; he believed that only an absolute monarch could control men for purposes of collective peace. Filmer also argued that men were generally incompetent for self-government. But unlike Hobbes, he argued that men were psychologically infantile and thus insufficiently manly for self-government. Filmer insisted that only the king had the requisite manliness of a powerful father and that men required the former’s love and guidance while they owed him complete obedience. The American colonists constructed a new understanding of male identity, one that was compatible with the logic of self-government in their constitution."

Manliness... it's important and important to get right.

48 comments:

TRO said...

Manliness - it's an art.

http://artofmanliness.com/

John Lynch said...

No, John Locke did. Second treatise on government outlines his differences with Hobbes, and how natural rights exist separate from government. Hobbes didn't care about any natural right other than safety.

I like all the emphasis on men. It's humanity. Women aren't any better at it.

Triangle Man said...

Much like a 200 pound chimpanzee, men can have moments of hyper-masculine rage and moments of infantile psychology, but so can a king.

traditionalguy said...

Where can we find a man willing to stand up to the ridicule of the Counterculture and feminists? We saw the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun", and I remarked to the wife that the Only male I could remember portrayed as a full Man in a love story movie since 1965 was the Italian Real Estate Agent in that movie. Of course he had to be from another culture than American, where all the men are portrayed as silly doofuses ruled over by noble women and children who patiently teach them everything. The only identity source left for a man comes from a father/male mentor who initiates him into his value as a Man. Since 1965 Popular culture has despised Men who act like a real Man. A Jimmy Stewart could not find a role since then, and he represented the real men in our traditions more than the John Wayne or the Clint Eastwood's warrior roles.

Methadras said...

Manliness, it's what's for dinner.

Lem said...

President Obama appointed a bypartisan blue ribbon panel today to look into the "manliness of self-government and the color purple"...

Why can’t we have both?

Jason (the commenter) said...

People will say anything to justify their beliefs. I've heard men are sexually agressive and women sexually passive, therefore men need to be in charge to protect women. Of course, historically, the argument went: men are sexually passive and women sexually agressive, therefore men need to be in charge to protect women from themselves.

Opposite assumptions, the same conclusion.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"I like all the emphasis on men. It's humanity. Women aren't any better at it."

I agree with the "women aren't any better at it" part. I was wondering where women fit into this rubric. You know that Locke and Hobbes literally did mean "men" here - the women were off baking cookies or whatever, and not supposed to worry their pretty heads about such serious man-stuff.

Bruce Hayden said...

If we are going to talk about one sex or the other being capable of self-government, let's turn this around.

I have long argued (to the females in my family) that females are, on average, too emotional to vote rationally. My primary example has been that of Bill Clinton, voted in by the women in this country and reelected by them, despite multiple credible accounts of his misbehavior around women. But, he was sexier than either Bush (41) or Dole (even before his sponsorship by Viagra). With the election of Obama, I am willing to extend the removal of the franchise to those under 30 too.

dannyboy said...

Where can we find a man willing to stand up to the ridicule of the Counterculture and feminists?

I'm you're huckleberry.

When women don't need that stupid jar opener thingy to open a jar of mayo and can change their own flat tires then I'll pay homage to their crap. Until, shut the fuck up and bring me my slippers.

Meade said...

"Against Hobbes, the colonists pressed American men to embrace civility rather than being driven by a violent hypermasculinity. Against Filmer, the colonists urged American men to evince their manly independence by deliberating political truths instead of deferring to social betters."

Embrace civility.
Eschew violent hyper-gender-ness.
Show independence.
Think for yourself.
Behave obsequiously to no one.

In 2009, good rules to live by for both men and women equally.

pj said...

Women may or may not be any better at it - I say we are in areas critical to modern society, but we are certainly *different* at it and subject to different weaknesses and strengths when it comes to self-government. So I read a blurb like this and realize I just wasted my time because it has nothing whatsoever to do with me.

For example, we are more subject to dependency on government and less subject to the traditional male gambling, guns, drink, whores pure red meat corruption urge - that lack of the latter is precisely what provides a necessary stable, even-handedness and detachment from the more animalistic narrow aspects of pure self-interest - the danger being that it turns into an Infinite Loop From Consensus Hell where nothing ever gets done.

Big Mike said...

Of course men have a problem with lust. If there are any vertebrate species where the male isn't constantly ready to engage in copulation science doesn't know about it. Persumably the last such species went extinct eons ago.

Big Mike said...

Sorry. Comment above belongs on a different thread.

commenter said...

members of the animal kingdom that have trouble with physical activity and maintaing proper weight, childbearing and breastfeeding usually die off.

However, with the articles that Ann Althouse highlights on her blog, you would think those are the ones of the human species that thrive, at least on the internet.

ricpic said...

Without Alfa Male leadership the whole world collapses, as it is doing this minute under the Beta Manboy's reign of revenge.

Psychedelic George said...

Candidate A:

Wrestler. Able to withstand unspeakable torture. Unable to go bowling due to savage injuries. Fighter pilot—i.e. highly trained killer. Descended from an aide to General Washington. Grandfather was fast-attack carrier task force commander. Father was commander of Pacific fleet.

Wife: Beer distributor zillionaire.


Candidate B:

Body surfer. Sensitive writer. Unable to go bowling because fingers are long and delicate. Bottled-tea drinker. Eats at gourmet restaurants. Pot head. Coke fiend. Broken home.

Wife: Whiny, horsey. Carries doggie bag.

Ann Althouse said...

Psychedelic George... I want to frontpage that, but I'm afraid.

mariner said...

@Althouse:

"... I want to frontpage that, but I'm afraid."

What's to be afraid of? The evil fascist Bush administration is over.

Darcy said...

I hate the idea of a man trying to be manly. Just be yourself. I think this is all crap, really...and the notion that men should always be striving to be something close to the latest enlightened ideal is destructive.

dannyboy said...

I hate the idea of a man trying to be manly. Just be yourself.

We can't if we actually want to get laid once in awhile. If men, real men were to just be ourselves, we'd be unemployed, at home watching multiple ESPN channels, eating fried food, destroying our livers and lighting farts to scare the dog.

Women go through the whole hairdo, hot clothes and polished nails to get a man. Men just have to shower, wear a clean shirt and chew with our mouths closed until we can close escrow.

It's all a facade.

Chip Ahoy said...

To open a jar of mayonnaise without a brute around allow me to suggest letting the faucet run to hot then hold the lid underneath it for a few seconds long enough for the lid to expand but not so long that the glass also expands. You'll find the lid pops right off.

To change a tire, do consult the automobile owners manual and familiarize yourself with the operation of your jack. Make special note of the placement under the chassis. Some automobiles have specific built-in places for the jack to fit. You mustn't just go sticking it under the fender near the tire. Jack up the car partially then loosen the nuts. You can jack it up fully and use the rotation of the tire to loosen the nuts the rest of the way. If a nut becomes stuck inside the tire iron, then reinsert the nut onto one of the lugs for just a few turns then pull the tire iron off, essentially using the bolt on the wheel as a temporary nut holder. Then unscrew the nut with your hand. (This happened once and I was the hero of the story for figuring out how to get the nut that was stuck inside the tire iron. ) After changing the tire, be sure to tighten all the nuts equally to sort of tight, then go around again and tighten them all again to really really tight.

* lefty-loosy, righty-tighty
* not on a soft shoulder
* not on a hill
* +emergency brake
* pop the hood to indicate emergency

The last time I did this the nuts were too tight to loosen. I had to position the tire iron horizontally onto the nut then stand on it with the automobile partially jacked. Dangerous to an extreme but it was the only way I had to get the nut off.

* cell phone + AAA, Puss.

This advice is generously offered so that dannyboy will pay you homage, you can speak to your hearts content without recrimination, and ignore command to deliver slippers.

Trevor Jackson said...

McCain wasn't a fighter pilot.

HelenParr said...

Psychedelic George... I want to frontpage that, but I'm afraid.

Man up, Althouse!

traditionalguy said...

Self government in Hobbe's and Locke's time was seen from the view point of European Aristocracy goverened kingdoms set up along Feudal lines descended from right of conquest by the king's use of military force. By 1800 the American Republic had fought the King's military force to a standstill, and Washington and his Army Officers had refused to become the King and Aristocracy. Next came a final blow to "the King Must Rule or there will be no Order" theory when Andrew Jackson arose from the frontier and defeated the Indians, the Bloody British, and the Adams' family ruling dynasty, and Bank of the US from New England, all to Guard what George Washington had started. No King was ever needed again(See, DeToqueville), just more honorable and brave men willing to protect our Republic's Constitution. After 180 years of that, we may have run out of such men, but there is Sarah Palin out there somewhere.

Psychedelic George said...

Really, one guy is a killer. A stone-cold killer. Conan with napalm. He lives for torture. You could crucify him, and he would grin and spit at you.

The other guy?

He plays a mean game of pick-up basketball. Oh, and he sneaks cigarettes. Him and about eight million other sixth graders.

Revenant said...

Since 1965 Popular culture has despised Men who act like a real Man.

In what sense are George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe, Heath Ledger and Bruce Willis not "real men"?

blake said...

Darcy--

It may be hard for males to be themselves when there is a constant message that their selves are bad.

Alex said...

Dannyboy said....

Women go through the whole hairdo, hot clothes and polished nails to get a man. Men just have to shower, wear a clean shirt and chew with our mouths closed until we can close escrow.

It's all a facade.
3:00 PM


Actually these days men have to be in great physical shape too. Women don't tolerate beer belies anymore.

rcocean said...

The problem in 21st Century American isn't men - its women.

Not the Althousesss of the world, but the average Oprah watching, "isn't Obama Handsome", "What about the children" soccer mom types. Or the kind that doesn't care about politics but votes anyway because its "their duty".

Its been all downhill since the 19th amendment.

Cedarford said...

Psychedelic George said...
Really, one guy is a killer. A stone-cold killer. Conan with napalm. He lives for torture. You could crucify him, and he would grin and spit at you.

The other guy?

He plays a mean game of pick-up basketball. Oh, and he sneaks cigarettes. Him and about eight million other sixth graders.


There is a reason why we reject war heroes with no other attribute (Duke Cunningham) or the famous victim-hero who Served!! who Suffered!!! (McCain and Mad Max Cleland) in favor of a Leader who never served, or a Leader who did serve in combat, was a standout soldier, but never came close to McCains veneration by war fans (Lincoln,, Truman, JFK, Nixon, Ford, Bush I) or who never personally saw combat but were true leaders (FDR, Eisenhower).

The word that crops up is "Leader", not lone wolf jet jock Maverick. McCain lacked enough of those leadership credentials to be passed over for senior leadership in the Navy, and the voters passed on him too - his reputation for being a dimbulb, treacherous to his own Party, erratic, tempermental, and incoherent - did him in.

Obama had a huge advantage with Bush in office. It would have been difficult for any Republican to win, even over the weak, inexperienced but media-loved Obama. But Republicans stupidly went with "the old guy who gets confused sometimes and is loathed by much of the party but HAS to get it on the Bob Dole criteria of the "old guy deserves his shot". The best guy couldn't run because of his family name. Romney was crippled by Religious Right "purity tests" - and now the intolerant hicks can savor their work with the tasty McCain they had to 1st swallow, now their 4 years of Obama.

Meade said...

Helen Parr made me laugh.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse: Psychedelic George... I want to frontpage that, but I'm afraid.

Shying away from controversy Althouse? That's not like you. Don't be an Obama!

Psychedelic George said...

Cedarford--

Just you remember...there's a big green backwards-moving poison gas comet headed for planet Earth next week.

Candidate A?

He could rocket past the Van Allen Radiator Belt in the secret Presidential spaceship and blow it up.

Candidate B?

Not allowed by his wife to drive.

dannyboy said...

This advice is generously offered so that dannyboy will pay you homage, you can speak to your hearts content without recrimination, and ignore command to deliver slippers.

Good going Chip. You just got your man card revoked.

Since batteries were invented, those were the last two thing they actually needed us around for.

dannyboy said...

Actually these days men have to be in great physical shape too. Women don't tolerate beer belies anymore.

They will if your wallet is bigger than your belly.

Or are able to lick your eyebrows like I can.

Ralph said...

Dangerous to an extreme but it was the only way I had to get the nut off.
Girlie: Hope you wore a condom.
Manly: Do it raw!

rhhardin said...

Manly is seeing yourself as the story nyt photo. Women love it.

It's particularly effective if you're in fact a complete dunce.

Kirby Olson said...

Apparently in Greek the notion of virtue stems from the same word as virility. Strictly reserved for the men.

Aristotle argued that a woman's main claim to glory was her ability to keep silent.

People are just a kind of ape, but I thought Hobbes was the worst of philosophers in terms of claiming that life was nasty, brutish, and short.

Now it appears that he was the liberal compared to Filmer.

Kirk Parker said...

Chip,

"... then loosen the nuts... "

Are you still single? 'Cause if so, maybe this would be a good starting point for you in exploring the reasons why.

"lefty-loosy, righty-tighty"

In general, yes--but please don't take up welding or bicycle repair.

:-)

Kirk Parker said...

Rev,

In the sense that they're all actors. Well, maybe Bruce Willis might be an exception to this general rule.

Kirby,

That's Latin, not Greek.

Psychedelic George said...

Virtus semper viridis:

Virtue is evergreen.

And manly, yes. Like spring in Ireland.

traditionalguy said...

Revenant... The actors you listed played roles as tough warriors which is one male role. But they were loners with girlfriends who admired them. The role I see as missing is that of a normal good husband and father faithful to the family he leads. Maybe Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers is a cross over into that other male role together with a warrior. But that film was about a 1967 true story. The women still need men who can function in Husband and Father responsabilities, but the role model production line has been shut down. The Rambos and the Gladiators are one type of good male roles, but a faithful husband and father role model has gone missing.

Darcy said...

Blake: Yeah, that's just it. That message is and has been so destructive. Women, of course, don't need to be anything and all is well. ;-)

blake said...

Blake: Yeah, that's just it. That message is and has been so destructive. Women, of course, don't need to be anything and all is well. ;-)

Ah, but women can be anything. (Even pregnant men, apparently.) A woman who is into manly things is attractive to men. Men who are into feminine things, not so attractive to women.

(Do women want men to enjoy "chick" stuff like shopping and picking out curtains and the like? No, they just want them to do it anyway. Heh.)

Darcy said...

Blake: Exactly. And I'm probably the wrong person to answer your question, but for me...no.

Patm said...

Althouse:
"... I want to frontpage that, but I'm afraid."


Mariner: What's to be afraid of? The evil fascist Bush administration is over.

Yes, one cannot ignore the fact that when Bush was president none of us were ever afraid to say or publish anything. Now, that's no longer true. So, who is the real fascist?

Hint: not Bush. The fascist was never Bush.

I miss Bush.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Niall Ferguson in his Virtual History notes a fulcrum of English representative government in the failure of Charles 1 to fulfill his autocratic ambitions and crush the Scots in rebellion over keeping their Calvinist prayer book in 1639. Eventually this led to Parliamentary government. The English government failed to suppress the growing assertion of representative government here, in a sense allowing an adolescence to our institutions, and we grew up without a king. The King may come back in the form of the non-income tax paying voter and thus we will be back to 'taxation without representation.'