Watching an anime called Seraph of the End, the latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, and reading several reviews of that film spawned this post. When I see phrases like “the dangers of manliness” or “manly excess,” I wonder why anyone should fear a good thing. Of course, Theodore Roosevelt is famous for dividing “manly” from “decent” virtues–saying that the former without the latter produces a villain, while the latter without the former makes for a man who does not count. Rather the case is that neither nicety which shudders from protecting the weak nor boldness which takes from the weak are virtues. After all, the whole point of virtue is right action, which in turn forms the good character of the one who acts rightly. Manliness is the name for good character in a man in the same way as femininity is the name for a woman’s good character. Manliness itself falls in between the extremes of effeminacy and brutality or cruelty. Those extremes are what society should fear rather than manliness, which stands as the bulwark of the civilized world against the barbarians who would destroy it. Post-moderns seem to have taken the violent extreme as synonymous with manliness. This makes them afraid of true men, imagining them to be monsters, and causes them to prefer men who fall into the effeminate extreme. Why should this be so? One must remember that the post-modern has divorced himself from the West’s tradition and past. Not standing by the wisdom of their ancestors forces them to create new philosophies, which hold less wisdom than tried and true schools of thought. In the same way, a young man’s conception of reality is perforce poorer than an old man’s. In particular, post-moderns lack particular examples of what a man should be. If someone asked me who were examples of good men, I should have no trouble rattling off dozens of names: Jesus Christ, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Joshua L. Chamberlain, Marquis de Lafayette, Padre Pio, Captain Joseph Fry, Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Richard O’Kane, Demosthenes, the Prophet Moses, etc. What joins these men together? Virtue, which derives from the Latin word for manliness or manly excellence.
Post-moderns have downgraded their understanding of virtue. In its place, they have posited tolerance, open-mindedness, and niceness. In effect, they preach only non-violent qualities. (One wonders to what extent they practice what they preach, but let’s give the more intellectual of their ilk the benefit of the doubt.) However, manliness sometimes requires men to be intolerant, close-minded, and harsh. The goal of a liberal education is to produce a gentleman. In the words of St. John Henry Newman, a gentleman would never willingly harm another person. But, a gentleman defends the weak from the vicious. Actions like shooting an armed robber or clubbing an Islamic terrorist are perfectly gentlemanly things to do. More than that, they are manly–neither cowardly nor cruel. Here is where confusion results in the post-modern mind: because the gentleman is dangerous, he is regarded as a bad thing. To them, the fact that the gentleman is dangerous to none but malefactors does not matter. Essentially, they lump together one of Immortan Joe’s henchmen with Robert E. Lee, which seems shocking to the conservative mind and, I hope, to people only partially immersed in post-modernism.
So, I wish to emphasize that true men deserve the love of their citizens rather than their fear, save perhaps in the antiquated meaning of respect. (E.g. “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”) Fear instead the unmanly, whether they be cowards or brutes. Remember, the pusillanimous or narrow soul is the one capable of cruel and nefarious deeds, not the magnanimous and manly one.