May 05, 2005

Martial Virtues

A long time since I hadn't blogged about anything. It's good to be back writing and forming thoughts and ideas. Things pale in comparison to such concentrated focusing.

Martial Virtues as I define them are the Virtues, in the sense of Aristotelian virtues not Religious virtues, that makes someone be a self-sufficient warrior and fighter. Examples are the Marine Corps in the military. The military is very military in the sense of discipline and order, but the Marine Corps is the most "military" of all the branches precisely because it pinpoints and exacerbates the martial virtues in every person. The Marine Corps creates an esprit de corp that feeds on these virtues in Marines, and creates a feedback system in which the esprit de corp is strenghtened by such values.

In the end, the martial virtues are a Soldier's Loyalty to kin, to himself, to his comrades, and to his nation. A Soldier's Sacrifice comes in many forms, that of being deprived of family, of peace and prosperity, of living in luxury and safety, as well as the right to life and the right to free expression. The military Sacrifices that which civilians take for granted, so that civilians get a chance to take things for granted. Taking things for granted is not a bad thing in itself, it is only bad in the context of what it will bring about. And the military is always there to see that that bad thing doesn't happen.

The way the West has structured the military is very interesting. Because the military people, the "doers" are not the policy decision makers. Rather, civilians take that job. The President is the Commander in Chief and his second is the Secretary of Defense.

This is different from the military dictatorships seen in Japan and other crazy like countries where the military was required to do politicking and compromises. You see, the military cannot be politically correct because the military has one job and only one job, and it is to exterminate threats. When the military is in control of a government, and it sees a threat inside that government, it will exterminate that threat. ANd you can't do that for long and still bring prosperity and order to a nation. Therefore a military "has" to be separated from the civilian support structure simply because of how the military is set up.

The military with their anachronistic values of SACRIFICE, LOYALTY, HONOR, DUTY, DISCIPLINE, and etc. don't fit into civilian life. That is why some people stay in the military for life, because they care so much for the "comraderie". They will always miss it out in the civilian sector. Civilians can have these martial virtues, but most of the time it is diluted through the civic vices and sometimes even civic virtues like independence and rebellious tendencies. Because so long as there are virtues, there are vices as well.

The Martial vices are disloyalty, disobedience, hedonism, lack of discipline, cowardly behavior, dishonor, and so on. The Civic vices are corruption, apathy, ignorancy, stupidity, and arrogance. Among others. The Civic Virtues are knowledge, voting, community care, self-protection, and self-reliance. Of which, the last two are the most important. There are many more, yet to be explored.

The dichotomy comes when you mix Civic vices with Martial virtues. What happens then?

What happens to a military that is corrupt, apathetic, ignorant, as well as arrogant? Yet the military has some martial virtues, like Discipline and Order, a chain of command, ability to kill without hesitation or doubt. That military becomes like Arab militaries, ineffective. Which is a euphemism for meaning "Dead on Arrival" on the battlefield.

The Republican Guard can fight, for sure. They can fight and even against civilians and peasants, win. But they can only fight and DIE when against a military chock full of martial virtues.

A military that allows or is helpless to prevent its soldiers (small s) from raping and looting is equally as helpless on the battlefield against a military that enforces policies against rape and looting of occupied territories. That is the reality distinction that fake liberals cannot and do not understand. Because they are too full with the civic vices to ever understand anything of virtues, let alone "Martial" virtues. Those who never keep their word in politics, those that don't see a difference between perception and reality, is not suited to understanding something as archaic as honor in one's enemies or honor in one's word.

These Virtues, I have come to understand, makes a person better than he could ever be simply relying on the Civic virtues, and obviously better than someone full of vices. It is always nice to see a civilian able to protect himself and to be reliant on himself rather than the government for his survival. It is even better to see a civilian with the martial virtues of honor and duty, intelligence molded into courage on Flight 93. The Frontiersman of young America were self-reliant to the core, yet they could be just as dishonorable as any outlaw, as flawed as any human could ever be. And any honor that they did have, was undisciplined and therefore incomplete.

Which is why when I watch the Naruto Anime series, I am pleased that Japan is educating their younger generation in just what kind of things are good to have in your character. The American people's secret to our success is our belief in character. It is our centuries long habit of molding and strenghtening character through trials and tribulations, religion and science. If Japan ever acquired that secret and applied it, they would become the first NEW superpower from the ashes of the Cold War. Indian and China have the capability to develop an economic hegemony, but not a military hegemony. For China, it would take far longer than it would take Japan to acquire a military hegemony on par with the US's. China is in the situation Germany, Russia, and Japan were in, they have resources to devote to a military but not the traditions to make them as effective as possible. The true test of any military hegemony is how it defeats and fights against guerrilas. It is not enough to be big and bad, you have to be quick and smart as well.

Iraq and Afghanistan are likely candidates for the superpowers to come from the 21st century. But that is a long road away. Afghanistan has to be able to mold their character strengths into self-perpetuity inside and outside the government, where the infrastructure is weak to say the least. Iraq has sectarian strife and corruption going rampant. It is richer than Afghanistan, but for an Arab region that just means there is more graft not that there is more money necessarily for reconstruction and civic infrastructure.

Oil is a crutch, and Iraq must lean on that crutch for the immediate time until such a time as they can walk without that liability. Afghanistan has no crutch, and therefore their climb will be slower but in the end they will have achieved a victory greater than someone who had the aid of a crutch. Iraq is plagued by violence, and that will mold the character of Iraqis for generations to come. Afghanistan experienced its craziness way before American intervention occured. The scars were deep, but the organism had adapted. For Iraq, it was a tabula rosa, and it is still being written. Written by terroists, American Servicemen and women, American civilians in the homefront, Iraqi civilians, Baathists, Iraqi patriost and Iraqis who fought for Saddam. The last were the grunts of the Baathists, and they have their own peculiar mini culture.

The martial virtues are as indomitable and as inevitable as the wind or a fire. Once you start the reaction, it'll take off on itself. The military is an entirely different culture, as stark a contrast as between night and day, winter and summer, blizzard and sandstorm. Yet, we the civilians are interconnected with the military in a way few cultures ever become. And it is only the diffusion and osmosis across cultural boundries that allow our two cultures that make the entire American culture, to thrive and to survive.

In the end, the military tolerates the civilians because they dislike politicking and PC baiting, while the civilians tolerate the military's "crazy ass love of being warmongers" because they don't want to go out and do their draft Tour for Dictator and Country.

When either side forgets this fact, bad things happen. It becomes a war in which only one side will survive, and because both sides need each other, that means in the end no one survives. Not the idiots on the civilian side that are pacifists, nor the proud and the few, who don't like the press, on the side of the military.

End Game


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