We Fight, Get Beat, Rise, and Fight Again

The motto above is from General Green, who wore down the British forces in the Southern campaign of the Revolutionary war. Eventually, with the help of General Washington‘s Continental Army, the Comte Rochambeau’s French Army, and the French fleet under de Grasse, Lord Cornwallis was pinned in at Yorktown, and finally the band played The World Turned Upside Down, I suspect you know the rest.

Why am I writing about this? Because it’s a very good comparison to the war we conservative are waging against the statists.

Daren Jonescu posted an article at American Thinker the other day that delineates and summarizes many of the things we are seeing from the left recently. [Contrary to my usual practice I’m going to print the entire article.]

Conservatives Have a Secret

Can conservatives be revolutionaries?  Given the level of crisis into which civilization has fallen, and that the unfolding disaster is the result of what is now called “liberalism,” it behooves us to ask whether the only serious countervailing force, “conservatism,” is up to the task of radical change.

At face value, conservatism would seem to be a position of reserve, caution, and resistance to change.  How, then, can conservatives — anti-radicals by nature — turn back the tide of political and moral devolution that has led the once-free world to the brink of economic collapse and tyranny?

Just a note here, The American Revolution was essentially a conservative revolution too. It started trying to retain our rights as English freeman.

I believe that the answer, paradoxically, is that they can turn it back by failing to turn it back.  To see how this makes sense, a little context is necessary.

Despite all of Barack Obama’s hoopla about “fundamentally transforming” America, the truth of the matter is even scarier than Obama’s threatening promise: the fundamental transformation has, to a large extent, already happened.  Contemporary society has been gradually undermined, in the strict sense of having had its terrain booby-trapped with moral explosives, over many decades.  Obama’s promised transformation is merely the paperwork, writing into law what has already been accomplished in culture.

In short, Western society has essentially ceased to be the glorious crown of humanity that it once was.  The wellspring of ethical individualism has regressed into a fear-addled horde of collectivists.

The philosophical birthplace of the individuated soul with its higher callings — philosophy, art, faith — has devolved into an orgy of mindless pleasure pursued at the expense of any concern for, or belief in, the difference between scratching an itch and contemplating the divine.

And the civilization that, through its dual focus on human reason and the individual soul, planted the seed of that political liberty which is literally inconceivable in any other historical context has allowed itself to recede into an increasingly unvarnished mob of angry, frightened children clamoring for their “fair share,” for what they are “entitled to” — for a ruler to take care of them, freedom be damned.

The West’s economic insolvency is merely a practical manifestation of moral bankruptcy.  America’s irreversible prison sentence of debt stretching for generations into the future is only a foreshadowing of the more explicit form of bondage that takes hold of societies after they disintegrate into practical despair and irrationality.

Sound pretty familiar doesn’t it?

No doubt some readers, at this point, are thinking, “That may be the path some people are on, but there are millions of us who will refuse to let it happen.”  And it is quite true that conservative resistance to the scenario I have described is substantial, and has been so for decades.  That is precisely the point: the resistance has always been there, and yet the devolution continues, slowed but ultimately unabated.

It is true that there has always, particularly in America, been a strong conservative minority to say “no” to each new infringement on reason, decency, and liberty.  Nevertheless, the “yes” side usually wins, eventually if not immediately.  In boxing terms, you cannot win going backwards.  Even the most talented defender must finally step forward and throw punches.  But in politics and culture, “forward,” as we know, is the method and slogan of the left, and not the natural instinct of conservatives.

Thus, the traditional question becomes more pressing every day: what are conservatives trying to “conserve” at this point?  In other words, hasn’t mere resistance proven futile?

Painfully disappointing, yes — but futile, no.  The difference between the way America and the rest of the West have reached their respective tipping points gives us a clue to the long-term value of short term failure.

Most of Europe, for example, has drifted sleepily into socialism.  The conservative resistance, such as it was, remained much smaller and milder, and, for the most part, it lacked a clear set of principles to guide its efforts.  That is why Europe has made leftward “progress” far faster than America.

Each European nation undergoes brief spasms of dissatisfaction with the inefficiencies of socialism, and hence reintroduces a few carefully regulated “market elements” to stabilize its labor force, its health care system, etc.  Through it all, however, sovereign nations have dissolved into an supranational socialist “union”; work — in the old-fashioned sense of productive effort you must make to support yourself — is generally regarded as gauche and distasteful, and when Europeans are surprised by a financial doomsday they never saw coming, they take to the streets — not to demand the changes needed to avert catastrophe, but to demand that doomsday be canceled because it is interrupting their lifelong state-subsidized vacation.

America, while following the same pattern of leftward drift, has done so kicking and screaming.  The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are simply too clear and stately to admit of being tossed into the fire.  Or rather, there are many who would happily do exactly that, but the documents remain cherished fundamentals to so many Americans that progressives have been forced to try to finesse their way around founding principles that are far too clear to be fudged.

The Founding Documents, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the Federalist papers, which explain it all, makes all the difference. We have a blueprint, ink on parchment, to tell us how it’s supposed to be.

Hence, with each “forward” step, the left exposes itself further as essentially opposed to those founding principles — i.e., as essentially un-American.  This reveals the precise advantage American conservatives have over their brethren in other nations.  If conservatism is at its core a philosophy of resistance to change, then conservatives are lost if they cannot isolate the point from which the change they are resisting began.  In other words, once again, they must have a clear understanding of what they are trying to “conserve.”

How can the conservatives of other nations define their cause?  What are they seeking to preserve, or to return to?  They and their position are too easily reducible to a combination of nostalgia and stodginess.  They are embarrassed by the perception, promoted by liberals, that they are merely old fogeys who fear the new.  This is why the supposed elected representatives of conservatism are so quick to adopt or accommodate “progressive” policy ideas.  They cannot even explain to themselves why they are resisting.

American conservatives, by contrast, know exactly what they are seeking to conserve, and why.  They have the special advantage of having been bequeathed a precise theoretical explanation of their nation and its system of government, one which is impervious to changing practical circumstances and speaks to the primary needs of humanity — self-preservation, freedom from coercion, and the opportunity to develop oneself through one’s own efforts.

And yet, despite the powerful constitutional shield and all the will in the world, American conservatives have thus far failed to turn back the progressive tide.  They have, however, done what committed conservatives can do — namely, challenge “progress” at every turn, keep every counterargument to leftism floating through the public consciousness, and frustrate the left’s propaganda methods by exposing them to the light of common sense.

The net result, inevitably, has not been “success,” inasmuch as the authoritarian left has not been stymied outright.  Conservatives have, however, by their continued resistance, forced the liberals into assuming increasingly aggressive postures in order to achieve their goals.  In other words, the smooth transition into collectivist authoritarianism has not happened in America as it happened, or is currently happening, everywhere else, because conservatives have not let it happen.

The “democratic” left has had to work harder in America than anywhere else — and, consequently, has had to show its teeth more plainly in America than anywhere else.  And this, I suspect, demonstrates how conservatives, if they have staying power through the very hard years ahead, can win.

Friedrich Nietzsche, in his final sane months, produced this bracing analysis of the West’s future (our present) as he saw it:

Whispered into the ear of the conservative. — What was not known formerly, what is known, or might be known today: a reversion, a return in any sense or degree is simply not possible.  We physiologists know that.  Yet all priests and moralists have believed the opposite — they wanted to take mankind back, to screw it back, to a former measure of virtue….  Even the politicians have aped the preachers of virtue at this point: today too there are still parties whose dream it is that all things might walk backwards like crabs.  But no one is free to be a crab.  Nothing avails: one must go forward — step by step further into decadence (that is my definition of modern “progress”).  One can check this development and thus dam up degeneration, gather it and make it more vehement and sudden: more than this one cannot do. (Twilight of the Idols, §43, emphasis added.)

The final sentence of this passage, overwhelming with a stroke of irony worthy of Socrates, explains the means to conservative victory.  Damming up the degeneration — in this case, the century-old wave of cultural and political progressivism — is dangerous, as it serves to “gather” the force of the wave, adding to its power and “vehemence.”  Yet this dangerous process of thwarting the left until it becomes outraged and angry serves a purpose worthy of the risk.  We are seeing this scenario played out before us today.

The modern left has won most of the West by presenting itself as the voice of “the people,” even as it gently fastens its shackles on the ankles of mankind.  This is why the rest of the world finds Americans unfathomable for resisting these restraints applied in the name of “security” and “equality.”  Practical difficulties notwithstanding, Europe never doubted the left’s intentions.  Thus, for sixty years, the drowning waters have flowed evenly and soothingly through the Western world — except in America.

America resisted.  She refused to be ashamed of her growing isolation.  The left co-opted the education system, the judicial system, the bureaucracy, the press, and the arts.  And yet genuine conservatives refused to be mollified, or embarrassed into acquiescing.  They have watched dam after dam get blown away by leftist encroachments.  But they rebuild the dams.

The result of this resistance, increasingly apparent for decades, has become palpable: whereas the European left presents itself, and even sees itself, as a friend of Europe, the American left has been antagonized into presenting itself more and more openly as the enemy of America.

As many have noted, the declared goal of “fundamentally transforming” America clearly implies a basic distaste for America and Americans.  Obama’s “You didn’t build that” is an open spit in the face to the most time-honored notion of national self-identity, the American Dream; Nancy Pelosi’s “Are you serious?” when asked where Congress gets the constitutional authority to force citizens to purchase health insurance displays an open disregard for the principle of limited government; the media’s knee-jerk search for law-abiding Tea Partiers behind every act of mass murder reveals the left’s hatred of people who care about their freedom.

These revelations — the progressives showing their true colors — are the direct result of decades of conservative resistance.  The statist left, having won the day everywhere else, has become flustered and furious at its inability to seal the deal in America.  Thanks to conservative dams, the progressive current has, as Nietzsche whispered, gathered strength and become more “vehement.”  This strength and this vehemence have manifested themselves in angry, careless lurches, wild punches that expose progressives and their real agenda more fully than they would ever have wished to expose themselves.

And their open aggression has, as it were, awakened a sleeping giant.  The Tea Party is the direct product of progressivism’s excessive “vehemence.”  And the Tea Party’s effect, in turn, has been to stoke the left’s ire that much further.  Even President Obama, who was intended to be the European-style kinder, gentler face of socialism, has become angry at this resistance and has dropped the veneer.

The entire Democratic Party, from the top down, now looks like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.  The hatred of America is open.  The desire to undo American constitutionalism is explicit.  And this exposure will only accelerate in the coming months and years, as the left realizes ever more acutely that its days as an accepted political faction are numbered, and it is forced to take increasingly drastic and sudden measures to achieve its brutal aims before the clock runs out.

The days lying ahead of America will often be treacherous and sad.  They will require nerves of steel from those who would resist progressivism’s desperate last stand.  It has become patently clear that the present Republican Party establishment is not up for this fight.  Constitutional conservatives must do it themselves, using the GOP apparatus as just one tool.  They must remain cool and workmanlike, rebuilding dams faster than the leftist waves can knock them down.

This is the means to conservative victory.  One cannot merely “go back” to a better time.  Societal decay cannot simply be undone.  One must allow — even encourage — the progressive degeneration to play itself out, fighting it at every turn until the leftists, seething with an increasingly open hatred of America, overplay their hand and self-destruct.  Finally, thanks to steadfast conservative resistance, “progressivism” will be fully exposed for the empty, anti-human power lust that it truly is.

Power-lust masked as “caring government” — the entitlement society — can still win support, unfortunately.  By gradually forcing progressives out from behind the mask, however, conservatives can at last destroy the illusion that is leftism, leading not to a “reversal” or a “return,” but rather to renewal.  This is conservatism’s well-kept secret — the secret hidden in its very nature: from a long series of hard-fought failures can come sudden victory.

Conservatives Have a Secret – John Malcolm.

Do you see why I use the example of General Gates? It’s going to be that kind of war. Victory, while possible, will be very hard and drawn out. No guarantees, either. But this fits the facts as I know them to be.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry March 23, 1775.



This We’ll Defend

In Somerville, MA today, they will celebrate the raising of a new flag – they really should do this on 1 January, but they seem to think standing on a hilltop around Boston on 1 January is a mite chilly. No idea why. So they’re going to celebrate today. Works for me, since last Saturday was Flag Day, and today is the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. This is, of course, the first national flag, and is the first one to receive a salute from a foreign power. Specifically the Dutch under Governor Johannes de Graaff, at St Eustatius in the Caribbean to the brig Andrea Doria commanded by Captain Robinson, on 16 November 1776. The flag was first saluted on a naval vessel when The USS Ranger entered Quiberon Bay (under Brest) on 14 February 1778, under the command of Captain John Paul Jones.

Thos guys in Charlestown staring at the British 242 years ago today, were rather unique. Since the 14th of June, they had been the Continental Army which would become the United States Army, although the United States would not exist until 4 July 1776. That was the date that the Continental Congress adopted the New England Army, committed $2 million to its upkeep, and called for raising 10 companies of Riflemen from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland for its support. From the US Army Center of Military History

When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies.  They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders.  The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.

In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army.  Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision.  Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City.  Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775.

John R. Maass
US Army Center of Military History

So, a slightly belated Happy Birthday to the “This We’ll Defend” guys on the anniversary of their first battle, which they lost, rather gloriously.


The Legacy of George Washington

Emanuel Leutze's depiction of Washington's att...

Emanuel Leutze’s depiction of Washington’s attack on the Hessians at Trenton on December 25, 1776, was a great success in America and in Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There used to be two federal holidays in February (plus St. Valentines day!). They honored the two most iconic of Americans, Presidents Washington, and Lincoln. Some years ago they were combined into the insipid President’s day, so that instead of honoring the best presidents for their own individual achievements, we could lump them in with the rest, like Carter, and Buchanon. So now, our teachers (and parents) have still another excuse for not teaching about the great men we have produced.

Well, here we are conservative, if it ain’t broke, we don’t fix it. But this was broke intentionally, to give the lazy still another 3 day weekend, which now only the terminally lazy (government workers, mostly) get. In any case, on Sunday, I spoke of Lincoln’s achievement. Yesterday was out of sequence, but Justice Scalia was clearly cut from the same cloth.

But today, we’ll speak of the man who was, is, and always will be considered

first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,”

With a military career spanning forty years, including three armies (British Colonial Militia, Continental Army, and United States Army) Including victory in the first of America’s wars, as an independent country, and that against the greatest empire of the age. Great Satan’s Girlfriend reminds us

Washington designed the American strategy for victory. It enabled Continental forces to Maintain their strength for six years and capture two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Some historians have lauded Washington for the selection and supervision of his generals, preservation and command of the army, coordination with the Congress, with state governors and their militia, and attention to supplies, logistics, and training. On the day of battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals.
Washington was not a great battlefield tactician; he sometimes planned operations that were too complicated for his amateur officers to execute. However, his overall strategy proved to be successful: keep control of 90% of the population at all times (including suppression of the Loyalist civilian population); keep the army intact; avoid decisive battles; and look for an opportunity to capture an outnumbered enemy army. Washington was a military conservative: he preferred building a regular army on the European model and fighting a conventional war, and often complained about the undisciplined American militia

One of Washington’s most important contributions as commander-in-chief was to establish the precedent that civilian-elected officials, rather than military officers, possessed ultimate authority over the military. This was a key principle of Republicanism, but could easily have been violated by Washington. Throughout the war, he deferred to the authority of Congress and state officials, and he relinquished his considerable military power once the fighting was over.

via President Washington Day

That would seem to be enough for one man accomplishments. In fact, when King George, asked the American ambassador, John Adams, what General Washington would do at the end  of the war. Adams told him, “He will retire to his farm.” The King then said, “Then he will be the greatest man in the world.” He did, and I see no reason to argue with the King on this one.

But that only about half of Washington’s life, the civic side. He was also as we noted above, a farmer.

It is as an entrepreneur, however, that Washington serves best to inspire Americans in the twenty-first century.

Industry was integral to Washington’s character. Denied a formal schooling because of the early death of his father, he devoted his early years to practical home-based learning in subjects like accounting, geometry and mathematics. His mother taught him thrift, self-discipline and a horror of debt. In his first teenage job as a surveyor, Washington demonstrated a passion for knowledge and—crucially—a willingness to work hard to attain it. Within a few years he became a skilled tradesman with the makings of a steady and potentially lucrative career. For a lesser man, this would have sufficed.

Beset by restless visions of a prosperous future for himself and his countrymen, however, Washington cast aside his nascent career as a surveyor and invested in America’s greatest natural resource: land. Military service during the French and Indian War had awakened him to the dimensions of America’s bounty, from the richness of its soil to the potential of its waterways as highways of commerce. By the time he was twenty-seven—thanks in part to his marriage in 1759 to the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis—Washington had acquired a vast estate that spread across much of Virginia and pressed to the gateways of Appalachia.

A passion for improvement drove Washington to experiment with crops and new technologies to increase productivity. Almost immediately he recognized the evils of British colonial rule that forced Americans to work within a credit system that fostered wastefulness and debt. Craving self-sufficiency, he abandoned the tobacco economy that had nurtured generations of his ancestors and converted his farms to wheat. This allowed him to evade British oversight and buy and sell for cash on his own account. Being less labor-intensive than tobacco, wheat also allowed Washington to devote resources to industries like milling, spinning and weaving, ironwork, cobbling, and even large-scale fishing.

Morality and industry were for Washington two sides of the same coin. A moral man was industrious, and vice versa. British colonial rule thus appeared inherently immoral, for it denied Americans the right to pursue their own improvement in a free market.

via History News Network | The Unexpected Legacy of George Washington.

As America, and her Army, grew, other men were appointed Lieutenant General, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Pershing. But Pershing was promoted far beyond that to General of the Armies (presumably 6 star). And the bevy of Generals of the Army (5 star) in World War Two. And so,

With effect from 4 July 1976, Washington was posthumously promoted to the same rank by authority of a congressional joint resolution. The resolution stated that Washington’s seniority had rank and precedence over all other grades of the Armed Forces, past or present, effectively making Washington the highest ranked U.S. officer of all time.

Which is as it should be, on George Washington Day!

Video Tuesday

Go Air Force

And Ben Franklin

Conservatism in real life. From The Federalist

Eliminate the politics and nearly everyone of any partisan stripe idealizes conservative principles without realizing it.

How? Consider the world of sport and fitness. It’s nearly always a fantastic encouragement of individual expression and ability while also promoting a positive community at large. Those hard working, disciplined, don’t-give-up mantras have become more prominent in the last few years as America’s athletic personality has swelled with amateurs.

Mentally tough and intuitively conservative-minded concepts of hard work and personal responsibility accompany these ventures.

Continue reading What Fitness Tells Us About Conservatism’s Appeal

A civilized society, not

This one is serious, because we do seem to be going there. If you work in law enforcement, you must (actually you should have always) think about this, because she is exactly right.

Because remember, you took an oath, not to obey the President, the Governor, the Mayor or any other man, but to defend the Constitution, from all enemies. We count on you to do the right thing. Just before crossing the Delaware 237 years ago this month, General Washington said this to the Continental Army

The time is now near at hand which will probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves, whether they are to have any property they can call their own, or whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed and they consigned to a state of wretchedness from which they cannot be delivered. Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance or the most abject submission.

We are not yet at that point, and God willing we will never be. But that is sometimes what liberty demands. Do not let us down.

And Bill Whittle

Or the rest of us, for that matter.


America’s Army

English: United States Military Academy Coat O...

English: United States Military Academy Coat Of Arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Something you may not know is that Jess gets precious little guidance here, if she wants to write about the London fashion scene for 14-year-old girls, nobody is going to stop her, although I’d probably raise an eyebrow. I mention that because I specifically asked her to write Thin Red Line of Heroes. Because we forget, how strained the relationship often is between military and civilian.


Something else to note here is that the United Colonies during and after the Revolution absolutely hated the idea of a standing army, the British experience had taught them that soldiers were always a severe threat to liberty, not to mention good order.


To me, that sounds extremely quaint in a country that has come to see it’s military as the most trustworthy of servants, far better than any elective or appointed officer of government.


Part of the reason that Kipling’s Tommy rings false in American ears (although not always) is that America has pretty much always been a citizen army, granting that lots of Irishmen and Germans learned about America in her army. It reconstructed a lot of Southerners too. But you know, it wasn’t accidental.


As with so much in America, it goes back to George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. And yes we are going to speak of West Point. The Continental army occupied it in 1778 and it has been a US Military post ever since. It is the oldest continuously occupied post, in fact.


But in 1802 Congress chartered (and funded) it as the United States Military Academy, and so it has been since. It’s first few years were pretty chaotic and the results in the War of 1812 reflected this. But after that war, in  1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer was appointed Superintendent. He established the curriculum still used today. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct.


By contrast for many years, until well past our Civil War, the British Army was a dumping ground for the younger sons of the nobility, buy them a commission, occasionally and forget about them. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s how Winston Churchill got his start. He did do better than most, however!


But Colonel Thayer figured out something else. He figured out how to train officers for a democratic army. The regulars in America epitomized what Jess said earlier even more than the British Army


Although the analogy with Monks might raise an eyebrow or two, there is a parallel (no, not that one).  Soldiers live a life apart. They are trained to do things which ordinary people don’t do, and probably don’t want to do.There has to be a high level of commitment, and at times the dedication to duty means that a soldier puts everything else to one side.


But the American regular army has always been a combination constabulary for the territories and a cadre for vast expansions of the army if we got into a war. We managed to do that in the Mexican war, and in every subsequent war. And the thing is, the officers trained at West Point have always known how to make American civilians into effective soldiers. Often they wouldn’t have impressed anybody on the march, whether in Mexico, Georgia, Pennsylvania, France or finally Germany but , they always manged to get into the battle and fight effectively. But like Billy Yank before him, GI Joe wasn’t particularly interested in the niceties of showing officers respect.


And so America’s Army has always reflected America, loose-jointed, casual, intelligently lazy, goal oriented and not deterred by much of anything.


But Jess speaks of the British authorities recommending the troops wear civilian clothing off post. I can remember a time when the American army ordered it, and further when junior officers sometimes went armed to the barracks. In the early 70s the American forces were broken, especially the army, ill-disciplined, ragged, riddled with drugs, and anything but combat ready. But the officer corps, men like Schwarzkopf, Powell, Starry, and thousands of others didn’t despair, got down to work, raised the standards, worked, [wash, rinse, repeat]. What emerged is the superlative force we have today


But, it seems to me, the other thing we learned from Vietnam is this; We no longer fight with our professional, regular army. The way we’ve structured it now, the army can’t fight without the reserve forces and almost always with the National Guard as well. This has put the local back into American war making, not many out here missed it when a truck convoy of the Nebraska Guard was rescued from an ambush in Iraq by the cavalry from the Kentucky Guard. These “Weekend Warriors” as we call them are normally amongst us as civilians except for about 2 weeks a year and a weekend a month. They more than any soldiers in history are direct representatives of our communities for good and bad.


And this, I think, is one of the secrets of how to keep your army dear to the hearts of your population, it has to represent your population. Jess knows more about how we do this than she lets on, because she reads so many of us, and she has mentioned occasionally what seems to her as incredible support for the troops. But, of course, British troops wouldn’t respond to that, or would they?



Those Anglians look pretty happy to me 🙂


Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.


Somehow this seems like a good place for the infantry motto


Follow Me



Duty, Honor, and Personal Responsibility

ACTION ITEM! Obama Admin may court-martial those who share Christian Faith… including chaplains! | Fr. Z's Blog (olim: What Does The Prayer Really Say?)I’m going to start this morning with a couple of paragraphs from Jessica’s last two posts because they are exactly on point to where we are going today. This was not what I was going to write here, maybe later, I have elected to supersede that article because of events and knowledge we have gained lately. Here’s Jess from yesterday:

If you hadn’t noticed, I am an Americanophile.  I was brought up not to forget one thing – that the freedom that I enjoyed had been won by the blood of others; and that key to that blood not being spilled in vain was the courage, the sacrifice and the money of the United States of America. It also dawned on me as soon as I started studying history that those things had continued to be gifted to us after the Second World War; Communism had no enemy fiercer than the United States. I lived in Missouri for a year when I was a child, and I learned then how much Americans loved their country; that seemed, and seems, admirable to me.


It won’t do to pretend that the Roman Republic was a democracy, it wasn’t, but it was a place where to be a Roman citizen was the greatest honour possible, and service to the citizens in the Senate was a duty which a man took seriously. Few left office richer than they entered it, because service was costly; but it was considered the duty owed by a man to the Republic. Service in the army was onerous, but again, it was something a man did in the name of honour.

And from today

One of the Republican (as in Roman Republic) virtues which the US has exemplified is independence of spirit.  Men took responsibility for their actions; it was not unknown for senators to fall on their swords if they dishonoured their office. The ideal of the Roman world was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 BC – 430 BC) (and the answer to the question is yes, it was named after him). When his son was convicted of a crime and absconded, Cincinnatus had to pay a huge fine and retired to his small farm. But when the State was threatened by the Volsci, the Senate called upon him to lead the State. He laid down his plough and returned to high office, which he discharged with great distinction; after victory was assured, he returned to his farm. In later life he returned once more and did great service; once again, he retired into private life. He became the beau ideal of the Patrician Roman. A man to whom service to the Res Publica – the common weal – was all.

Your American history has many such men, from the great George Washington, through Jefferson and Lincoln and into more modern times, a man like Eisenhower or Truman. These were men of almost Cincinnatan virtue. They were men who gave to the State and asked for little and ended by being loved by the people.

If he had one at all, Cincinnatus was Washington’s role model, all he ever wanted to do was farm Mount Vernon and be with his beloved Martha. It showed too. When he retired after his two terms as President, George the III of England asked the American Minister to England what he would do, the Minister replied ” He will return to his farm”. King George replied of his former enemy “Then he shall be the greatest man in the world.” This is what the American Presidency once was. Add to that the association of former Officers of the Continental Army was The Society of the Cincinnati.

Cincinnatus has also left us a quote, or you could even call it a motto:

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Yes, I know, you thought it came from a much more recent figure, one whom the press has done an outstanding job of demonizing. You’re not wrong, exactly, Senator Goldwater did quote it in his acceptance speech at the 1964 convention. But it wasn’t original with him.

What are the three things that run through what Jess has written (much of what I write as well) and what Cincinnatus and Washington both lived?

Duty, Honor, and Personal Responsibility

Both were plain men doing their best for their country when it called, yes Washington was well off, he was a good planter, and lived fairly well. But as he said at Newburgh  he grew gray and almost blind in our service.

Over the years guided by men like these we have become what has been called “The Indispensable Nation” because of our physical power, as we have become the leader of the free world, which in truth is exactly synonymous with Western Civilization because of our moral power, as well as because we are the last major power who is overtly Christian, the leader of what used to be called Christendom. It’s a very awesome status, which we have borne quite well and humbly as well, not least because of our history, and the men who founded and led what my British friends tend to refer to as The Great Republic, but as Jess asked us this morning,  “Has there been one such since Ike?  And if not, is that not a sign of something?” My answer is, “Yes, it is”. I believe we have lost our way, and we have devolved as the Romans before us did, into a group of grasping vain men and women struggling for power and wealth without thought for duty and honor. If they even know what the word mean.

This morning another British female published an article (I don’t know what’s in the water over there, that these women drink but, I think they need to share!), Melanie Phillips who I started the week by talking about. Here is a bit from her blog.

Fort Hood, Benghazi, the Boston bombings, Iran/Syria, Israel. The pattern is unmistakeable; the danger to America is exponentially increasing; the scandal is deepening into something nearer to a national crisis.

The Obama administration is playing down the Islamist threat to the US and the free world, empowering Islamists at home and abroad, endangering America and betraying its allies — and covering up its egregious failure to protect the homeland as a result of all the above, while instead blaming America for its own victimisation.

What is coming out in the Benghazi hearings would be jaw-dropping if it had not been apparent from the get-go that the administration failed to protect its own people in the beseiged American mission where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff were murdered in 2012, then lied about the fact that this was an Islamist attack, and then covered up both its failure and its lie. (Apparent, that is, to some — but not to the American media, most of which gave the Obama administration a free pass on the scandal in order to ensure the smooth re-election of The One).

But the administration has form on this — serious, continuing form. After the Fort Hood massacre in 2009, in which an Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas shouting ‘Allahu akhbar’, not only was it revealed that his radicalisation and extremist links had been ignored but the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies classified the shootings merely as an act of ‘workplace violence’.

Weeks after the Boston marathon terrorist atrocity, there is still no explanation of why the FBI did not act against the Tsarnaev brothers, despite having had one of them on their books as a dangerous Islamic radical after a warning from Russian intelligence; and why, as the House Homeland Security Committee heard yesterday, the FBI didn’t pass on their suspicions about the brothers to the Boston police.

Even now, the US authorities are playing down or even dismissing  Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s extremist Islamic views. Whether or not the brothers had links to foreign extremists is still unclear. But what is bizarre is the authorities’ belief that if they did not have any such links, they cannot have had any religious motive.

 You need to go read the rest Obamastan | Melanie Phillips. I’ll wait for you.

Now, I don’t have an instant solution, you and I both know that someplace in this cesspool there is an impeachable (and maybe criminal as well) offense, and maybe the House could bring in a bill of impeachment, but what are the odds of the Senate convicting? And if they did, does anybody really think Joe Biden would be any better? We’re pretty much stuck trying to do the best we can for now.

But we had best get to work on finding some real American leaders by the next election. From Samuel Adams:

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards:

And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.

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