a philosophy blog

Men loving war

From a 1984 article in Esquire entitled, “Why Men Love War”, by William Broyles Jr., a well-known screen writer and decorated Vietnam War veteran:

…Like all lust, for as long as it lasts it dominates everything else; a nation’s other problems are seared away, a phenomenon exploited by kings, dictators, and presidents since civilization began.

And I don’t mean war as an addiction, the constant rush that war junkies get, the crazies mailing ears home to their girlfriends, the zoomies who couldn’t get an erection unless they were cutting in the afterburners on their F-4s. And, finally, I’m not talking about how some men my age feel today, men who didn’t go to war but now have a sort of nostalgic longing for something they missed, some classic male experience, the way some women who didn’t have children worry they missed something basic about being a woman, something they didn’t value when they could have done it.

…For all these reasons, men love war. But these are the easy reasons, the first circle, the ones we can talk about without risk of disapproval, without plunging too far into the truth or ourselves. But there are other, more troubling reasons why men love war. The love of war stems from the union, deep in the core of our being between sex and destruction, beauty and horror, love and death. War may be the only way in which most men touch the mythic domains in our soul. It is, for men, at some terrible level, the closest thing to what childbirth is for women: the initiation into the power of life and death. It is like lifting off the corner of the universe and looking at what’s underneath. To see war is to see into the dark heart of things, that no-man’s-land between life and death, or even beyond.

Thanks to Olivia Dresher for the reference.
—Iaia

Posted by iaia in war, Criminality, sex differences, male criminality (Saturday August 12, 2006 at 3:31 pm)
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