Machismo vs. Appeasement
By Bryan Caplan
I suspect that the ultimate objection to pacifism and appeasement is that they are unmanly. A “real man,” brimming over with machismo, stands up for himself no matter what the consequences: Never retreat, never surrender.
The emotional appeal is undeniable. Who can forget this scene from The Return of the King?
Gamling: Too few have come. We cannot defeat the armies of Mordor.
Theoden: No. We cannot. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless.
Intellectually, though, the glorification of machismo has no appeal at all. Who are the most macho of men? Criminals. Thugs. Conquerors. I’ve never heard anyone question the masculinity of Genghis Khan, but he was one of the worst men who ever lived.
Manly values have their uses every now and then. Let us never forget the deeds of Claus von Stauffenberg. But only when the manly values of courage and determination are subordinate to the nerdy values of objectivity and justice.