March 5, 2006


INTERVIEW: Calling All Hombres: A Harvard sage makes the case for manliness. (NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY, March 4, 2006, Opinion Journal)

Mr. Mansfield's contention that women and men are not the same is now widely supported by social scientists. The core of his definition of manliness--"confidence in a risky situation"--is not so far from that of biologists and sociologists, who find men to be more abstract in their thinking and aggressive in their behavior than women, who are more contextual in their thinking and conciliatory in their behavior.

Science is good for confirming what "common sense" already tells us, Mr. Mansfield allows, but beyond that, he has little use for it: "Science is a particular enemy of manliness. Manliness asserts something you can't scientifically prove, namely the importance of human beings." Science simply sees people as just another part of the natural world. But what manly men assert, according to Mr. Mansfield, is that "they are important and that their party, their country, their society, their group, whatever it may be, is important." As examples, Mr. Mansfield offers Arnold Schwarzenegger (predictably, since he's no girly-man), Humphrey Bogart, Donald Rumsfeld and Margaret Thatcher--yes, women can occasionally be manly. (Both Clintons are manly in their own ways--Hillary is "formidable," while Bill is the "envy of vulgar men.")

Achilles, though, is Mr. Mansfield's model of a manly man. "He challenged his boss, Agamemnon, who had taken his girlfriend from him. He didn't so much make a complaint against him as to . . . say that what Agamemnon had done was the act of an inferior person, and that only true heroes, the men of virtue like Achilles, are fit to rule." In other words, Achilles raised the stakes and resolved to defend a cause larger than himself--the manly action par excellence.

If onlt Mr. Mansfield had an editor, this would have been an excellent book.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2006 5:31 PM

If onlt Mr. Mansfield had an editor, this would have been an excellent book.

"onlt"? Looks like someone else could use an editor.

Posted by: Gary at March 5, 2006 8:01 PM

Amen, brother.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2006 9:06 PM


So, would you give the book a C-minus?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 5, 2006 10:35 PM

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2006 11:08 PM

Larry Summers is definitely an unmanly man.

Posted by: ic at March 6, 2006 3:33 AM

Well, he could have at least offered Nancy Franklin a hanky.

Posted by: ratbert at March 6, 2006 8:19 AM

I'm amazed this gentleman has survived assassination at Harvard. Perhaps that in itself is an great argument for true manliness.

Posted by: Genecis at March 6, 2006 11:21 AM