James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Live and Die Together

I'm not a conservative, and the post from which this is lifted is mostly about local and theological matters, but this passage from Douglas Wilson is just great:
The modern military is a machine for fighting; in the older vision, villages, towns, provinces, went to war together. A regiment would be raised, for example, from Virginia, and men would go to war with men they had grown up with. The old method was far more organic. Of course, the down side would be that if a particular battle went badly, all the men from one town could be wiped out. But that is the cost of being together. If you live together, you might die together. The modern state has developed a system for mixing up the population as they go into the military, and the point they are after is to have men with no mixed loyalties. But of course, because of the mannishness of man, as Francis Schaeffer would put it, very personal loyalties develop within the machine (to a particular unit, or ship, or branch of the service). The point is not that modernity is capable of erasing the nature of man, but rather that the modern state does its level best to to keep a lid on it. The next time you hear a postmodernist vaporing about the epistemological importance of local communities, just suggest that the best way to implement his insights would be to go back to our old regimental system of raising troops. The reaction will resemble that of a scalded cat, and you will probably hear at least fifteen empassioned and modernist cliches within the space of three minutes. Scratch a postmodernist and you will find a confused modernist, which is to say, you will find a postmodernist. For the last several centuries, conservatives have cared about local tradition and community; for the last twenty years, postmodernists have postured as though they do.

1 comment:

  1. Jim,
    I am not exactly a conservative either, and I don't know if Douglas Wilson would paint me as a "posturing postmodernist," but I think the idea of mobilizing by local regiment is great - I know local communities pay more attention if National Guard units from their area are sent overseas. It may cause our senators and representatives to pause when rubberstamping a war, if they are not just sending "the armed forces," a group of professional soldiers, but rather they are voting to send their own district's or state's regiments into war.