Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Nobility of Purpose

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette passes on a letter from a new Marine, and how he and his wife came to the decision for him to join.

In so doing, Greyhawk also posts a portion of Teddy Roosevelt’s The Man in the Arena speech.

For all the naysaying, for all the criticism, for all the 20/20 hindsight, backbiting and carping about how poorly planned was this or that aspect of the War on Terror, maybe in the end it all comes down to this.

I always remember Jenny’s idiot lefty boyfriend in Forrest Gump, who, in excuse of his own bad behavior, blames “that damned Johnson.” Versus the idiot savant Gump, who knows only that he cares for Jenny and he does his best, with duties as forced upon him, or that he undertakes out of love.

You can sit on the sidelines. You can bitch and moan and crank and curse as you sit in Starbucks drinking your Latte. You can spin enormous webs of societal prescription for all the ills of man, and if you ever get the chance again, cheer as well-intentioned champions continue to increase of Government (and thereby decrease liberty).

Beware those critics who stand back and abandon the fight:

A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The role is easy; there is none easier, save only the role of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.

Yet for those who see the fight, know an enemy, recognize the threat, not only to lives and limbs, but to our very way of life, something more. To Western civilization, and what it has and yet can achieve, despite it’s many annotated failings, a calling. And in the end, a nobility of purpose:

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Follow the link to Mudville Gazette. Read Roosevelt’s speech. It’s even more apt for the struggles we face today.

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