Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Last to decay

The consistent pacifist must consider the armed forces an inherently immoral institution, but the King of Scouts, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, has this to say on savagery and the army:

Sometimes I wish I had never learned to read or form any conception of duty, civilization, or religion; for then I might have been outwardly, as I am now at heart, a thorough savage, nothing more. As it is, I am to return to London—to swallowtails, clubs, soft carpets, soft food, soft life, soft men and women. I fear all these things will fit me about as neatly as Paul Kruger's plug hat fitted him.

But my boys must go into the army. I shall try to keep them in that branch of the human organization that is last to decay in a too luxurious nation. Fighting and bloodshed may be condemned by the good, but the army is the ark that carries the strong and enduring virtues far in the world's progress.

From Scouting Across Two Continents—definitely worth a read, for exciting (non-fiction!) tales and a look back to days of adventure and true masculinity.

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