Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Tolstoyan Nod to the Celestial Emperor

"Every sovereign, except the Chinese, wears a military uniform and bestows the greatest rewards on those who kill the most people," said Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy's Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky in War and Peace.

"The military class is the most highly honored," says Prince Andrei at the beginning of his discourse. He is right to suggest that this was never the case in China, where the scholarly class was most highly honored. In fact, in China, the miliary class has been historically despised.

The honor we afford the military class in the West seems to be one of the remaining vestiges of the Roman Empire, one that the Church, in her two-millennia tutelage, was unable to stamp out. Probably we Americans came the closest to having a proper attutude toward the military class with our Founders' opposition to standing armies. This ended, of course, like so much else, with Jacksonian democracy.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Not every sovereign. The pope doesn't. And he's a sovereign. Under both Italian and international law.

2:17 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Amen to that!

2:42 AM  
Blogger Sam Urfer said...

Now our leaders dress like corporate CEOs.

11:06 AM  

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