“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”
So said Sir William F. Butler, according to the meme sent to me yesterday by my neighbor JP Chavez.
This quote is also attributed more anciently to Thucydides, the ancient Greek philosopher (460BC-395BC). And we know that this sentiment is true and universal, regardless who said it first or best.
But how do we go about cultivating again the warrior poets of old? No meathead mercenaries for us – we need men of conviction, intelligence, creativity, and passion waging our wars. If those wars are fought on conventional battlefields or on university campuses and street corners and in homes – either way, we make a mistake to dichotomize the capacity for violence from the capacity for virtuous contemplation.
Yet it is just this mistake which we have made. Our philosophers sit in their ivory towers and sell for a pittance their scholastic communique and pleading to whomever threatens to ring their scrawny little necks, or else upset their comfortable status quo.
And if our warriors are brilliant in mind as well as body, we do not often recognize it. And, excepting the special forces, we would rather have an unquestioning specimen of peak strength, endurance, agility, and obedience in a soldier than a man who thinks and reasons independently in accordance with transcendent principles.
We need more men like David, then. We need to bring back the warrior poet – as comfortable composing a song by the side of a river as squaring off against the enemies of Israel and the living God.
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