The Law of Manliness


punishment: contempt


“O Arjuna, do not concede to unmanliness!” Gita. Fighting the enemy ruthlessly is an epigenetic manliness. A true Roman prince possesses virtus and vis— manly pride and preparedness to use brutality to maintain power. Machiavelli. In many cultures, masculinity means the domestication of women. The Ottoman manliness centered on self-control and command over subordinates. Victorian manliness galvanized patriotism and Social Darwinism. Nazi Germany cultivated race-based hegemonic masculinity. The 20th-century America fostered male toughness, blue jeans, honesty, and hard work in manual labor. The 21st-century world idealizes gender-neutral societies. The critics of manliness are vociferous: subjugation of women is odious; occupying the poorly armed is barbarism; dropping bombs on living quarters is cowardice; nuking any city is a holocaust; dodging the draft is bravery; deserting the war is virtuous. Soldiers kill unflinchingly on the battlefield and return home with a traumatic syndrome. “Disobeying the commander to prevent genocide is a legal obligation.” Jus in Bello. Embracing the enemies to resolve a conflict peacefully must be the first option. U.N. Charter. “Begging is better than slaying.” Arjuna.

This is part of a work-in-progress called 501 Laws. CounterPunch will publish one or two “laws” a month. 

L. Ali Khan is the founder of Legal Scholar Academy and an Emeritus Professor of Law at the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. He welcomes comments at