Manliness – Harvey C. Mansfield
Trigger warning: accuratezza degli stereotipi di genere – cristianità effeminata – o sicurezza o virilita’ – senso del tragico – mondo borghese – virilità come vaccino alle democrazie – autogoverno come rimedio
The problem of manliness is not that it does not exist. It does exist, but it is unemployed.
Note:LA VIRILITÁ DISOCCUPATA
consider the evidence for manliness in social psychology and evolutionary biology, which show as best they can that the stereotypes of men and women are basically correct.
Note:CORRETTEZZA DEGLI STEREOTIPI
Unemployed manliness is nothing new in the world, and in particular it has not been caused by feminism…
Note: MA LA COLPA NON È DEL FEMMINISMO
The entire enterprise of modernity, however, could be understood as a project to keep manliness unemployed.
Christianity, a religion that puts the honor of gaining salvation in the next world above worldly honors that engage the ambition of manly men.
Note:IL MONDO EFFEMINATO DALLA CRISTIANITÀ
With Machiavelli the modern idea of “security” was born, the very antithesis of manliness. Although he began by deploring the fact that manliness sat idle, he ended by keeping it there.
Note:MACHIAVELLI E L’IDEA DI SICUREZZA
Manliness henceforth would be occupied with making humans more powerful rather than making them better. Machiavelli called this “prudence;” but I have to say it was not wisdom.
Note:PRAGMATISMO ANTI VIRILE
After Machiavelli the modern notion of rational control took shape.
Note:CONTROLLO RAZIONALE E SICUREZZA
“increasing the bounds of human empire without end.”
Note:IL MOTTO: AMPLIARE IL GIARDINO DELL’UOMO
Our rational control, fearing courage more than fear, will do without manliness and will seek to supplant it and to keep it unemployed by means of measures that encourage or compel behavior intended to be lacking in drama.
Note:ASSENZA DEL TRAGICO
we have replaced the manly man with the bourgeois, a character who has several faces, none of them manly.
Note:IL BORGHESE E L’UOMO D’ONORE
A professional is formed by uniform education and judged by objective criteria, not tested by manly deeds.
“Professional calm’ not manly passion, characterizes him or her,
Professionals treat each other with “professional courtesy” but never with chivalry.
Note:CORTESIA E CAVALLERIA
They are unmanly because they want longer or less troubled life rather than a short, eventful life in the noble manner of Achilles.
Meritocrats are unmanly to the extent that they think their merit should be recognized and promoted through an educational system that does the manly job of self-assertion for them by giving them honors they do not have to claim or fight for.
Note:IL MERITOCRATICO EFFEMINATO
Commerce is unmanly because it is materialistic, willing to settle for gain rather than victory,
COMMERCIO: GUADAGNO VS VITTORIA
Edmund Burke laments over the imprisonment of Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution, that no one was man enough to avenge her: “But the age of chivalry is gone.
Note: BURKE SU MARIA ANTONIETTA
Burke’s exclamation in praise of chivalry amounts to a defense of aristocracy against the foremost modern revolution on behalf of democracy.
Note: ARISTOCRAZIA VS DEMOCRAZIA
What in manliness makes it the target of modern progress? We may sum up the characteristics of manliness as they have been developed, for all of them are obstacles to rational control.
Note:VIRILITÀ VS CONTROLLO
It seeks to be theatrical, welcomes drama, and wants your attention.
Note:VIRILITÀ E DRAMMA
Manliness favors war, likes risk, and admires heroes.
Note:GUERRA RISCHIO EROISMO
To be sure, thanks to the failures of rational control, manliness has not disappeared. We have professional sports in which manliness is more apparent than in, say, professional education, but our athletes, so much more concerned for getting money than spilling blood, could never be confused with gladiators or knights.
Commerce is unmanly, yet there is manliness in the spirit of commercial enterprise, so that Tocqueville can say that “Americans put a sort of heroism into their manner of doing commerce.”
Note :IMPRENDITORIALITÁ VIRILE
We see that the disparate features of manliness discussed in this book and just now summarized have in common the fact that they express – better to use my favorite word, assert-the importance of the individual.’…. Rational control tries to… diminish the importance of the individual….
Rational control believes in individualism rather than individuality, an individualism of individuals effectively alike,
Note: INDIVIDUALISMO E INDIVIDUALITÁ
The danger in unemployed manliness comes from too little manliness and too much of it.
TROPPO O TROPPO POCA
The great Tocqueville dwells on this possibility; he sees democracy in a long trend toward similarity in its citizens and conformity in their behavior.
To oppose this trend he would rely on every democratic institution of self-government that strengthens individual pride.
Note:IL RIMEDIO DELL’ AUTO GOVERNO
Tocqucville holds on to manliness as the remedy for democratic despotism
VIRILITÁ VACCINO ALLE DEMOCRAZIE
Yet if we turn to Nietzsche, we find the danger of too much manliness.
PERICOLO TROPPA VIRILITÀ: NIETZSCHE E IL SUPEROMISMO
The communists spoke of “the struggle for peace;” but they were always much more interested in struggle than in peace. They were war lovers as much as the Nazis and with the same ruthlessness.
One thing we cannot do is to go back to a society in which women are kept in the home and men are free to leave it.
Tocqueville congratulates American women for willingly accepting the confines of the household, the “yoke” of marriage, in view of natural differences between the two sexes.
TOCQUEVILLE SULLE DONNE
woman’s movement was a manly enterprise, an assertive claim to rights long denied. But it was womanly in its choice of means, particularly in the idea of raising consciousness. It was also womanly in the character of the anger that fueled it.
FEMMINISMO: MASCHIO NEI FINI FEMMINILE NEI MEZZI
Our gender-neutral society needs to readopt the distinction between public and private that is characteristic of liberalism. In public it should be gender-neutral, in private not.
PUBBLICO E PRIVATO
Our gender-neutral society is, thankfully, much stronger formally in public law than it is actually in private. But so often in our private lives the two sexes live in embarrassment and confusion.
in constructing the gender-neutral society it has been following an illiberal impulse by trying to impose the liberal state upon liberal society.
To protect women’s careers we need a gender-neutralstate, but the gender-neutral society gives no respect to the liberal distinction between state and society