Are queens more warlike?

There is a reason chess evolved the way it did:

…we find that queenly reigns participated more in inter-state conflicts, without experiencing more internal conflict. Moreover, the tendency of queens to participate as conflict aggressors varied based on marital status.

Among married monarchs, queens were more likely to participate as attackers than kings. Among unmarried monarchs, queens were more likely to be attacked than kings. These results are consistent with an account in which queens relied on their spouses to manage state affairs, enabling them to pursue more aggressive war policies. Kings, on the other hand, were less inclined to utilize a similar division of labor.

This asymmetry in how queens relied on male spouses and kings relied on female spouses strengthened the relative capacity of queenly reigns, facilitating their greater participation in warfare.

As Chris Blattman tells us, that is from “A new paper, Queens, by Oeindrila Dube and S.P. Harish.”


Must be a sad life to be a stay-at-home king.

I guess the theme song for this thread is from the Kinks -

Does that mean

Hillary would be a War President.

Was Margaret Thatcher a War Prime Minister?

Well, Thatcher knew how to turn a war into re-election, putting her one up on George H.W. Bush.

As for Hilary being a war president - that could be a bit ironic, considering who Bush lost to in 1992.

It depends. If the spouse is supportive, a good manager or as Don Reba said "stay at home king".....the queen will feel confident enough to go to war. Mrs. Tatcher said exactly that: "Being a PM is such a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be - you can not lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend"

What is happening with the Clintons?

Of course she was! Haven't you heard of the Falklands?

There are few rebel armies that are raised to challenge the right of an elected female leader to 'sit on the throne' - which is what many of those wars are about. Perceived weakness of a female leader in a patriarchal, often feudalistic society invited conflict.

"Was Margaret Thatcher a War Prime Minister?" No, unless you count defending British territory. Blair was a War Prime Minister, though; there's a book on his five wars.

It's conceivable that the reactionary/fascist/macho Argentinian regime thought she'd be a girly pushover.

How about Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi?

Note to self: Buy defense stocks in November if HRC is elected.

The original name of the queen piece was actually counselor or first minister rather than queen. I'd think of it as the Bismarck to the king's Wilhelm II.

Vizier, I think, is the name for the weaker early Queen piece, and without regard to the premise of the article on who starts more wars, there is not a single shred of evidence - not a clue, even - that it had anything at all to do with the chess piece.

Hillary was an enthusiastic advocate for bombing Libya and Syria into chaos.

I'd bet that Steven Goldberg has a different analysis:

I had never heard of him, so thanks for the h/t.

Definition of "queen" from Bierce's Devil's Dictionary: "A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is not."

In recent history, there's Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, & Maggie the T: all notably war-like. HC's vote on Iraq: well-known. Along with so many others. Similar to the run-up to the housing/finiancial meltdown: the figures who were demonstrably right, at the time, were generally ignored. Even Martin Feldstein calling for federal intervention to support house prices in spring/summer of 2007, was ignored. Presumably he knew something, being an AIG Board member.

"Maggie the T: all notably war-like": defending the Falklands is war-like? What an odd notion.

Sure. She could have gone to the UN, surrendered the islands at the first threat, authorized a haphazard and insufficient response, or any number of actions less violent than she did.

Instead, she responded with greater force than the Argentinians could bring to bear, and won the war. How is winning a war not warlike?

As Deariemie said, defending the Falkland Islands from arrogant and cold-hearted belligerents with no compassion for the people who lived on the Falkland Islands was not war-like. Mrs Thatcher, for all her faults, including her lack of compassion for male and female unborn children, was (and I am not a fan, as you can tell from the initial 3 component phrases of this sentence) not the sort of person that anyone who understands English would call "war-like".

I won't speak to Thatcher's other policies, I will only strongly disagree with your definition of war-like.

Responding to violent aggression with violence is war-like.
Engaging in sufficient violent action to win a war is war-like.

If those actions are not war-like, then nothing is.

Warlords/ladies - power and domination - how the game is played. Why all the surprise?

Pretty much my point too. Seems so obviously correct. War so often bolsters domestic support for the current regime, and the Falklands War helped turn around Thatcher's electoral prospects.

I joke that if the Turks had let their Queen Sultans run the empire they would have kept up. Maybe it's not such a joke.

Speaking of chess queens, the chess ELO score gender gaps from the top ten players from selected countries:

2016 CAN F 2133.6 M 2544.2 diff 410.6

2016 ENG F 2280.0 M 2642.8 diff 362.8

2016 NED F 2287.9 M 2636.8 diff 348.9

2016 FRA F 2328.0 M 2660.1 diff 332.1

2016 AUS F 2168.6 M 2482.4 diff 313.8

2016 USA F 2387.4 M 2685.8 diff 298.4

2016 GER F 2342.7 M 2621.4 diff 278.7

2016 IND F 2394.0 M 2662.5 diff 268.5

2016 RUS F 2487.6 M 2750.2 diff 262.6

2016 CHN F 2518.6 M 2705.6 diff 187.0

2016 GEO F 2461.4 M 2598.2 diff 136.8

That is why China has tiger mums.

So queens are better delegators than kings, consistent with my marital experience.

Do the authors control for the amount of political stability the Queen inherited? If a country's laws favour male successor rulers, then the very existence of a ruling queen suggests unsettled times.

For example, Queen Zenobia fought the Roman Empire, not because she was beligerent, but because the very process that brought her to power, put Syria on a collision course with whichever Roman general came out tops in its wars.

Sounds like a more plausible line of thinking to me.

Interesting to actually test the "Female Leadership = Peace" theory.

I wonder if their set is large enough to check whether female headed state vs female headed state conflicts were more frequent than the general trend, or not. Probably not enough instances.

You wonder what female leadership as queens was actually like though - how many of these female leaders actually held much power and how many were pushed about by advisors and powerful men and women of state?

Also, perhaps this is a valid rephrasing of the theory in the paper - Rule by queens = functionally more assortative mating for aggression, thus more aggressive "power couples"?

Assuming powerful female leaders will, on average, tend to choose a more mate who is more aggressive than they are and displays competence (assuming aggression is a trait useful for male mating success). Powerful male leaders might not (rather than youth, attractiveness). The resulting "power couples" are thus more belligerent.

Comments for this post are closed