Go forth and conquer
Harvey C Mansfield Yale University Press, 304pp, £18
I am not a man. Or at least, I do not possess the virtues of manliness - the basic and simple characteristics that make a man a real man. Don't get me wrong: I am not a boy, a Peter Pan sort of chap, who refuses to grow up. I am not all that effeminate either, although I do sometimes lean towards the feminine. It's just that I lack the two fundamental ingredients for manliness: the confidence of manly men such as John Wayne and Tarzan, and the ability to command.
Unfortunately, John Wayne is dead and Tarzan is fictional. So those of us who are alive and live in the real world have to make amends. The world is in a total mess. It needs manliness to put it right; in fact, it has never needed manliness more. But since I am not a manly man, I am not qualified to criticise Harvey C Mansfield's manifesto, Manliness. I will have to limit myself to reporting, without prejudice, its urgent and timely clarion call. So you nerds and sensitive, liberal, left-leaning wimps out there, listen carefully to what Mansfield, a political scientist of some note, has to say.
Your planet needs you! Stand up and embrace your manliness. Take command and be in control. Real men are independent; they do not ask for directions or instructions. They know their job and have absolute confidence in that knowledge. They take authority for granted. They are good at doing things, but even better at ordering others to do things. In public life they make their views known and, in the conviction that they are right, stand firm whatever happens. In private life they are protective (not nurturing) of their children, and keep their women in their place. They go out of their way to make their manliness visible, and hence make friends only with other manly men. Shun the gender-neutral society. Keep away from poets who, as Socrates tells us, undermine the courage of manly youth. And go out of your way to avoid the wretched feminists who do not even understand men, let alone appreciate the importance of manliness.
Don't be hesitant. If you doubt your manliness, then go to war. The Greek word for manliness, andreia, is also the word for courage. And courage, as Aristotle confirms, is best shown in battle. Fight to demonstrate your manliness and to assert your right to rule. If you can't find a ready-made war, start one. Do not, under any circumstance, look up to women you may encounter in the army. The idea of women as warriors is a bluff. Xena: warrior princess is only a television series, GI Jane but a movie. Women cannot be manly. Whatever they believe about equality, they ought to be doing other (non-manly) things - like following orders, publicly and privately, from manly men.
Still unsure? Then clearly you are not a natural manly man. Manly men are, by and large, born to be that way. This is why they defy not just expectation, but evolution. Evolution has brought us to the present with man as he is now. But man as he is now is a weak, subservient individual who loves poetry and leads an empty, meaningless life. Who will stop evolution and give meaning back to man? Natural-born, manly men.
But all is not lost for those with feeble biceps and overcultivated minds. Thanks to the work of manly men of the past, manliness can also be constructed in the present. So prepare yourself by reading Plato and Aristotle, Nietzsche and Hemingway, and by following the examples of Theodore Roosevelt and Superman. Do not think that Superman is only a comic or a movie franchise: he is also, as Nietzsche said, the goal of every manly man.
Understand that Nietzsche was appalled by the reduction of beauty and nobility to utility. His antidote to this reduction was the notion of Superman, a manly man who does his own thinking. But beware: non-manly excessive zeal got the better of Nietzsche, and he constructed a Superman who needs to be redeemed by his opposite - the eternal feminine. You should aim to be a Superman in need of nothing but the will to power. Hemingway, a macho fellow and seeker of adventure, is perhaps a better guide. Read The Old Man and the Sea as a general guide to manliness. For apolitical manliness, turn your attention to Death in the Afternoon.
Your true role model, however, should be Theodore Roosevelt (TR), the 26th president of the United States. TR was a real bloke's bloke: an unnerving nationalist, a jingoist with no notion of political correctness, a politician who understood that only manly men are fit to rule. He made a point of demonstrating his manhood because he knew that no human progress was possible without manliness. He could not be more different from Bill Clinton, a liberal who delivered himself up to the feminists. TR's manliness was at the centre of his politics: he believed that the US has the natural right to world domination and saw it as his responsibility and duty to establish full-spectrum supremacy.
Like all manly geezers, he believed in conflict and zealously worked to promote the Spanish-American war. He turned the US into world policeman by declaring that the nation had a right to punish, discipline, invade or occupy any country that did not behave in the interest of America. Read his speech "The Strenuous Life" and discover that real manly men are not in terested in sharing control - they want total control. Peruse his other speeches, his letters and his auto biographical book The Rough Riders to discover what real manly men are like and what they should do.
Remember that manliness is your birthright. To be against manliness is to be against morality, beauty, truth, justice - and philosophy. To deny your birthright is to deny your own humanity. The future into which mankind is drifting is less than human. Know that manliness is the only thing that can restore humanity to mankind. March to the tune of neoconservatives. Or, if you are British, join the loony right wing of the Conservative Party.
Save the future, assert your manliness, and go forth to rule the world.
"How Do You Know? Reading Ziauddin Sardar on Islam, science and cultural relations" is published by Pluto Press