Byran Caplan’s missing moods post has repeatedly hit my screens.
His point is that the mismatch between many people’s moods and their stated positions gives away their lack or reliability.
One of his examples is the lack of sorrow amongst hawks.
Modern warfare almost always leads to killing lots of innocents; if governments were held to the same standards as individuals, these killings would be manslaughter, if not murder. This doesn't mean that war is never justified. But the reasonable hawkish mood is sorrow - and constant yearning for a peaceful path. The kind of emotions that flow out of, "We are in a tragic situation. After painstaking research on all the available options, we regretfully conclude that we have to kill many thousands of innocent civilians in order to avoid even greater evils. This is true even after adjusting for the inaccuracy of our past predictions about foreign policy."
Simple reflection ought to show that this is the the mood of many cops and soldiers, but not so much for the people on the home front.
I have never personally known a hawk who expresses such moods, and know of none in the public eye. Instead, the standard hawk moods are anger and machismo.
I’ve now read this post several times, and it just dawned on me that this is ground covered in an episode of the original Star Trek entitled “A Taste of Armageddon”. A planet’s natives are clearly reasonable hawks, and yet Kirk steers them towards the mood of anger and machismo.
The inhabitants of two planets fight a war, completely through computer simulation, with people assigned to death (which is neatly carried out without going far from home). The planet’s leaders are clearly reasonable hawks: convinced of the necessity of war, and also that their way is better, but simultaneoulsy sorrowful about the whole thing.
Kirk takes the position that they ought to be fighting a real live war so that they’ll think twice about their reasonableness. So he pretty much starts one up. Being TV, peace talks start right away!
Of course we all know Kirk; heavy on the machismo, with quite a bit of anger waiting to be unbridled.
What might we conclude from this? That reasonable hawks are so rare that we need allegories to demonstrate them? That a hawk beats a reasonable hawk as easily as rock beats scissors? It’s your call.