Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tolstoyan Wisdom on the Military Class

From page 590 of War and Peace (Signet Classics):
    The Bible legend tells us that the absence of toil—idleness—was a condition of the first man’s state of bliss before the Fall. This love of idleness has remained the same in fallen man, but the curse still lies heavy on the human race, not only because we have to earn our bread in the sweat of our brow, but because our moral nature is such that we are unable to be idle and at peace. A secret voice tells us that we ought to feel guilty when we are idle. If man could find a state in which though idle he could feel that he was of some use and was fulfilling his duty, he would have discovered one of the elements of primeval bliss. And such a state of obligatory and irreproachable idleness is enjoyed by a whole class—the military. It is just this obligatory and irreproachable idleness that has always constituted the chief attraction of military service.
Something to keep in mind perhaps reading this story — Will US Servicemembers Not Be Paid Next Month? "I seriously doubt this will happen," writes GI Korea, "because of the reaction the American public would have to Soldiers [sic] not getting paid."

The milblogger is right, sadly. Who would have guessed that the American people would have been duped into allowing themselves to be taxed to feed, clothe, and house an entire class of idle government employees? Surely the Founders with their opposition to "standing armies" would be appalled. Discharge all but those needed to defend us against the Mexicans and Canadians, and let the rest find gainful employment in the productive sector, if they even can after years of sucking from the government tit.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.