The governing logic behind our regime is fear of manly self-assertion.
Could not agree more. That is what they hated about Trump. He was a man, walked like a boss, he made them all look small and stupid. American men have been maligned because a bunch of ugly women, feminists, could not find a healthy, smart man to love them.
I raised two sons, married with children and wonderful wives. They are professional, but hunters and fishermen. Pure men with strong wives that appreciate and love them. Their children are cherished and will grow up to be like their parents.
American men are funny, smart and need women that want to be women not mini-men.
Time for conservative patriots to push back against the forces that wish to destroy America.
I agree that 'thumos' is an important term which we should be using to bridge that gap (or chasm) between unchecked passions and cold, hard reason in our confused age. But I find your argument around the Greek term 'thumos/thymos - θυμός' rather puzzling. Of course the success of liberal democracies in the western world since the early nineteenth century has depended to a large extent on that delicate balancing act of what Fukuyama calls 'isothymia', the recognition of equality with others, and 'megalothymia', the demand of superiority to other individuals (and yes, I'm aware they are neoclassical compounds, but seen as you're a kind of neoclassical guy, I hope you don't mind too much).
When you lament that there are no real men at the head of a mob or tribe, are you referring to Nietzsche’s ‘men without chests’? Do we need more men with a quasi-Nietzchian super-ego who can project their virile ‘megalothymia’ across the fractured landscape of a broken America? Are you really arguing that it is this more aggressive form of ‘thymos’ that is needed in both private and public life if America is ever to get closer to the ideals of the Founding Fathers? Wasn’t it the Founding Fathers themselves who created a system of checks and balances to avoid the very situation of a Caesar-type leader from taking over? i.e. someone with a heavy excess of super-ego/’megalothymia’ and a substantial lack of ‘isothymia’.
I notice that you yourself barely keep in check certain aspects of ‘megalothymia', despite your best efforts to disguise the blunt passions behind impressive knowledge of classical rhetoric and western history: ‘These are pointless questions and it’s stupid to keep asking them. Because, that’s why. Because we win and you lose. Also, shut up.’ Sure, you’re being ‘ironic’ and tongue-in-cheek. Haha. I get it. But not everyone will read your words with such an open mind. To others, this is the supreme act of double-bluffing – slip in moments of bare-faced ‘ironic’ arrogance amidst the classical rhetoric for performative effect. Very clever of you. I’m afraid you don’t convince this reader; the only thing you convince me of is a writer who is trying too hard to convince himself of his own intellectual position, i.e a highly educated liberal who is espousing a nativist, ethnocentric narrative for a return to some mythical ‘golden age’ of American supremacy and relevance.
But I know you probably don’t care, because maybe in your world this would be the highest form of compliment?? Let’s go through your article methodically to see what’s going on here. Your first sentence – ‘It is pointless to seek a rationale behind the abuses that our ruling class inflicts upon us daily.’ But isn’t this precisely what you attempt to do anyway? - ‘I do think it’s worth noting that many seemingly contradictory acts of predation on the part of our oligarchs suddenly make sense if we understand them as unified by one governing imperative: extinguish manhood everywhere.’ You claim that the ruling elites – ‘the low-T dweebs’ – abhor displays of testosterone or even ‘thymos’, but who are you to decide what narrow definition of ‘thymos’ is appropriate for a government which is dealing with unprecedented challenges? Wouldn’t you say that a recognition of others and their equal rights under the law, especially those who look and sound different to you, is just as worthy a display of classical virtue and ‘spiritedness’ as projecting an image of butch gym-bro manliness? Again, I’m sure you don’t care and I’m wasting my time here. But just some food for thought.
I’m also intrigued by your definition of what a ‘man’ is, or what he is meant to be. ‘Gyms are, and always have been, schools of manhood – they are where men go to compare notes on how to be men.’ OK, sure thing. Gyms are useful to work on your body, become fitter and healthier, and have some great banter with male friends. But let’s get real here – are you seriously suggesting that men who do not go to gyms are somehow unworthy of the label ‘man’? Someone who would rather go for brisk walks every day, and spend more time working on artistic or creative pursuits is somehow an example of a twenty-first century man displaying an excess of ‘femininity’ or even ‘isothymia’ (god forbid)?
Also - ‘...national security by physical force is the height of manhood.’ Interesting. That would explain the hundreds of wars over the last five centuries which have been started overwhelmingly by…….oh. Men. But war is OK, no? Because real men have to find an outlet for all that pent-up rage and testosterone AHEM, sorry ‘thymos’, coursing through their veins, right? Women already have pain. They’re born with it, and they carry it through their lives every single month. Men have to seek it out. There is some truth in this, but I find it astonishing that a writer and scholar of your standing should have such a narrow-minded view on what constitutes ‘proper’ masculinity, as well as femininity presumably.
From someone who has found a political and ideological home with the Claremont Institute, don’t you think it is truly ironic that you are claiming in this article that the government is seeking to ‘extinguish manhood everywhere’… ‘...even if it makes us less safe and less free’, and yet you are given a platform to offer your view on anything you wish to the entire world on the internet. If the government really wanted ‘to shut us up’, you would not be writing this article, and we would not be reading intellectually bankrupt opinion pieces by an author who perhaps believes he is the man to lead that mob to the promised land.
Well well, there we have it. It has been just over 48 hours since Spencer Klavan's article was put online and still complete silence from the author about the issues raised in all the comments posted below. Silence speaks volumes does it not? Now I'm sure Spencer is an incredibly busy, popular young man with a packed schedule of writing, podcasts, interviews, and gym sessions booked in every week, but just a tiny bit of engagement with a fellow American citizen who has made the time to consider the issues raised in his article wouldn't go amiss.
Of course that's not why I'm writing all this nonsense. I write because it gives me pleasure in itself and not necessarily because I want to hear from the author of the opinion piece. Why do you think I'm still here sitting on my sorry little ass typing away like a gimp? Because I just enjoy getting a weird kick out of expressing myself in written form, much like Spencer.
Dude, it would be great to have a chat with you properly about some of the themes you raise so eloquently in your articles, but that's never going to happen, is it? I guess that's because Spencer is the kind of guy who likes to surround himself with 'Yes' men; men who will never truly question his views or articles, and will go along for the ride, convinced that here is the new conservative intellectual 'messiah'.
The other explanation for my comments is that I'm just plain jealous of his fame and popularity. Let's be honest here, there will always be people who hate other people who succeed in life. I get it. So yeah, I am envious of Spencer Klavan. There, I've said it.
What concerns me the most, however, is not his success but the way in which Dr Spencer Klavan has used an elite classical education to justify a regressive agenda of intellectual and political thought, based around an extremely narrow ideology which seeks to define what America should be. Whatever happened to that Socratic method that you were raised on Spencer? The method in which students are taught to question texts through a form of cooperative dialogue and dialectic? Suddenly when you are confronted with others who offer alternative arguments, or attempt to critique your own, your evangelical fervor for classical education suddenly gets thrown out the window. Curious.
I read recently that the problem with our society isn't to do with people who are 'uneducated'; it's actually to do with people who are educated just enough to think they know what they are talking about, but who never go beyond a certain point to continue questioning their own beliefs and testing their theories against other valid systems of thought. But hang on a sec - "Dr Klavan has an undergraduate degree from Yale and a PhD from Oxford, surely this is irrelevant then?" Well yes dear, you're probably right. But the point is that a graduate education from an elite university and an impressive knowledge of the classics and western history - obtained through voracious reading and writing no doubt - does not automatically confer wisdom on the person concerned.
Wisdom and knowledge are two entirely different things.
This begs the question - does Dr Spencer Klavan have the 'wisdom' to know the difference?
Here Endeth the Fourth Lesson.
Oh man I forgot to check my thumostat before I went to bed last night. No wonder I feel all shook up this morning....
Wait Spencer, I've got a truly brilliant business proposition for you:
I assume you've heard of the iMac? Some kind of computer that's really popular with the kids on the block nowadays. Well, why don't you partner up with me and we can produce the next upgrade - the ultimate machine of MI (moral intelligence) and logos: I name it...........
..... [drum roll] .....
That's right. Only available in deep red and yours for just $4,500 (excl. tax).
What do you think? You'll need a way to raise funds for your future political campaign, so just thought I'd throw out an idea for you to think about.
Folks, I've just had a revelation. Praise the Lord! I can't believe it has taken me this long to figure it out. The scales have finally fallen from my eyes and I see it all clearly now, as if for the first time.
What do you think Dr Spencer Klavan has been doing over the last two years?
Ladies and Gentlemen, the boy wunderkind has been laying the intellectual, moral, and political foundations for a future run as a young Republican Congressman (or perhaps an independent conservative if the GOP implodes by 2024). You heard it here first. If that's too soon, it will certainly happen by 2028 latest. $10 bet anyone?
Just think about it for a second. "Rep. Klavan (R-TN) embodies the moral tone and foresight of President Andrew Jackson, the republican values of Lincoln, the virility and versatility of Teddy Roosevelt, the canny intelligence of FDR, the privileged connections of JFK, the avuncular ease of Reagan, the earthy good humor of Bush, the soaring rhetoric of Obama, and the pugnacious populism of Trump. In short, the ideal candidate to lead this country back to its former greatness."
Truly, the American Übermensch.
'Ignoring people online is one of life's great pleasures'. Dr Spencer Klavan, April 16, 2021.
You're funny, because I kinda agree with you there. But this comment also tells me something about your sensitivity to being challenged on an intellectual basis. Of course you're absolutely fine with anyone who shows you unadulterated praise, or provides hilarious 'ironic' banter, but when your view of historical events or ideas is critiqued with sincerity and with a desire to stimulate further conversation and debate, you hide. How very 'manly' of you! I thought being a man was all about fortitude, strength, courage, honor, and righteous anger (where appropriate), no?? Am I wrong there? Oh OK, perhaps I've misunderstood your concept of American manliness. Seems weirdly specific to me....
So wait, let me get this straight. You require all men to have the exact amount of 'thumos' which will propel them towards greatness, physical and intellectual strength, and presumably bring the populace along with them for a hilarious ride into a conservative utopia of your choosing, but when someone dares to question your specific analysis of Greek terms in a modern context, your 'thumos' suddenly disappears? Presumably to be replaced by those unchecked passions which are sometimes expressed through barely disguised arrogance and intellectual superiority over other, less fortunate citizens. Sounds fishy to me.
The oligarchs don’t hate us just because of aesthetics, but because manliness makes it more difficult to subjugate us.
Wow. Yeah I went overboard there. Man, that sucks. Who would read that crap, seriously! I suck. It's official.