Sunday, June 17, 2007

What's it worth to you?

From an article by Robert Kaplan called "Forgetting the Obvious".

“Decadence” is the essential condition of “a society which believes it has evolved to the point where it will never have to go to war.” By eliminating war as a possibility, “it has nothing left to fight and sacrifice for, and thus no longer wants to make a difference.”

It is in precisely such a situation that historical memory becomes lost, and forgetfulness obscures the obvious. When pleasure and convenience become values in and of themselves, false ends displace necessary means. It is as Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz said: While a good society should certainly never want to go to war, it must always be prepared to do so. But a society will not fight for what it believes, if all it believes is that it should never have to fight.

If you live in a society that has achieved such prosperity and stability that war seems to many inconceivable, to most a mistake, are you therefore rendered incapable of defending that society? If you have never had to fight for what you have, will you be able to when called on? Or will you think it better to curse those who call you to fight and take the part of the enemy? Will you defend the right of the enemy to attack you while attacking your own society's right to defend itself?

Nature has made up her mind that what cannot defend itself shall not be defended.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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