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the blame on other people's shoulders

perilous 於 2017年08月11日發表   人氣:106


A mercenary soldiery which looks to enrich itself by pay and plunder is an ignoble institution. It has no right to give itself airs of honour, and must be judged like company promotion, trusts, or any of the many other predatory professions of modern times. It is also a national danger, inasmuch as its personal interest is to foment wars. The British Army has never been open to this charge in any period of its history.

A profession in which it is only possible, by the most severe self-denial and economy, for an officer—even after he has arrived at success—to live on his pay, to marry, and to bring up a family, can hardly be ranked as a money-making career. Pecuniary motives, indeed, were never the charge against 'the military' except among the stump-orator class. But {405} professional indifference and inefficiency were, at that particular time, not only seriously alleged, but were also not infrequently true. It was a good thing that slackness should be swept away. That it has been swept away pretty thoroughly, every one who has known anything about the Army for a generation past, is well aware.

But the much-resented claim to a superiority in the matter of honour is well founded, and no amount of philosophising or political-economising will ever shake it. Clearly it is more honourable for a man to risk his life, and what is infinitely more important—his reputation and his whole future career—in defence of his country, than it is merely to build up a competency or a fortune. The soldier's profession is beset by other and greater dangers than the physical. Money-making pursuits are not only safer for the skin, but in them a blunder, or even a series of blunders, does not banish the hope of ultimate success.

The man of business has chances of retrieving his position. Many bankrupts have died in affluence. In politics, a man with a plausible tongue and a certain quality of courage, will usually succeed in eluding the consequences of his mistakes, by laying . But the soldier is rarely given a second chance; and he may easily come down at the first chance, through sheer ill-luck, and not through any fault of his own. Such a profession confers honour upon its members.

 


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