None of this means that hawks are always wrong. One need only recall the debates between British hawks and doves before World War II to remember that doves can easily find themselves on the wrong side of history. ~Kahneman & Renshon, Foreign Policy

Perhaps one of the reasons why people are psychologically inclined to listen to hawks is also determined to some significant degree by their conditioning and upbringing.  An entire nation raised on a mythos woven around WWII that teaches them that you cannot ever ”appease” hostile states and that any attempt to engage in diplomacy must doom you to greater bloodshed later will have profoundly distorting effects on the perception of present-day threats.  If you then believe that every enemy is an embryonic Hitler and every crisis is Munich, c. 1938 (and the 1938ists always do), there can be no peaceful resolution to a dispute; if you have an ideology that is geared towards encouraging the most paranoid and delusional aspects of “reactive devaluation,” you are bound to see any adversary as the quintessence of evil who cannot be trusted in the slightest. 

If we are already wired to some degree to prefer open conflict as a solution, this ingrained conditioning encourages the worst tendencies in us.  Thus you can have, even in a social science article that attempts to be relatively neutral, a boilerplate nod to the myth of the Good War and the idea that someone can be on the “wrong side” of history, and the latter idea is somehow supposedly demonstrated by the reference to WWII.  On the point in question, it is not at all obvious.  There are many reasons to suppose that it would have been better for Britain not to fight Germany in WWII.  Intervening on the Continent, which was such a tremendous, calamitous error in 1914, was really no better for Britain in 1939, and pretty clearly it hastened the demise of Britain as a real first-rate power and helped speed the collapse of the Empire. 

Besides, even if “hawks” are occasionally right, the number of times they must have been wrong is rather staggering when you consider all the wars that have benefited neither side or that have “benefited” the victor so poorly as to not be worth the cost.  That seems to be the point Matt Yglesias is making in his response to Mr. Continetti.  If we are so deeply wired to prefer resorting to force in a dispute, it would seem that we are predisposed to come up with terribly misguided answers to most international crises.  That should make us pause and consider whether our instinctive response to attack or intervene somewhere is not actually, on the international stage, quite frequently wrong and in need of substantial supporting evidence and argument to be shown to be otherwise.  Further, if this bias for conflict is built-in and instinctive, it should be the conservative view that we should seek to restrain and discipline this instinct.  For some reason, most conservatives have chosen to associate themselves with the most belligerent and trigger-happy of approaches to international disputes.  In this they are acting the part of libertines when it comes to the passions of wrath and anger.