Conservatism and The Military Mind

The absence of authority within Western societies, whether it be parental or social, is one of the most glaring features of our times, a contributing factor to societal demise and an issue Conservatives and Christians must address if we are to turn back the waves of liberalism that has battered the walls of Christian European civilisation for two centuries.

But our military institutions is one area liberals have found hard to penetrate, although not for the lack of trying...

The Burkean Journal:

When one thinks of a classic army officer, images of Pinochet or Hindenburg spring to mind as that Prussian ideal of the stoic, mustachioed generalissimo. One questions how true this image is of a modern military, in an age where every aspect of our civilisation is steeped, swamped and marinated in the preachings of liberalism.

At a cursory glance, one could be forgiven for believing that a modern military is not going to be more to the right politically than society at large, due to the effects of modern education, social media, television, etc. This would be true perhaps of a conscript army of composed of people taken from all different walks of life.

The British Army ads earlier this year was just one example of “social engineering” in practice and a blatant attempt to subvert the ideals of military, provoking an online backlash:

However, if a modern professional military is built through volunteers, then does it attract a different kind of person and if so, why?

In the past, many young men turned to the life of the soldier simply as a means of getting a square meal and a warm bed. Today however, such cases are rare enough, almost nobody joins a modern military to get rich. From the start we can assume that most volunteers aren’t particularly materialistic, and since they are not compelled to join, one could assume it is because they are at least somewhat patriotic.

They are of course young, fit, almost exclusively male, and generally unafraid of taking risk. If they proceed past basic training, it would be because they are largely team players, able to work well and take instruction under authority.

The military is probably the last place in modern Western society where an authoritative hierarchy is so clearly displayed, if not flaunted. Rank demands respect, forms of subservience and recognition of position are obeyed without a word.

The consequent virtues of this hierarchy are a firm sense of duty, honour and ultimately, a sense of fidelity which can only be achieved through shared hardships. Those in command of the military will have earned their stripes through such service and constitute a hierarchy whose very nature is the essence of conservatism.

So, if the military is by virtue of its selection process filled with people of a more conservative outlook, then is it immune from outside attempts to change its basic nature? From experience, by and large, it is. Apart from the now standard anti-discrimination and diversity quota programmes, the basic core of what military life is now is the same as it has always been.

The reason for this is simple, yet subtle; the programmes of the left can only fly in the face of reality for so long. At its most basic level, a military exists to fight and kill. And this reality is frankly not conducive to social engineering projects. Young men are the ones who fight wars, and they have to be fit, masculine and aggressive in all the ways that make the modern left shudder.

Viewed cynically, the military is allowed to remain immune from leftism so long as it cordons off and politically sterilises through service the most potentially anti-left portion of the populace. The military and its recruits are then put under the control of the most servile of civil servants. When they finally come out of military service, many veterans feel completely disconnected politically and socially, even from their own friends and family.

So what lesson should be learnt from the relative immunity of the military from leftist social engineering, and how could it be applied to other aspects of society?

In short, the left should be fought where they are weakest. That is, where human reality is starkest, and least conducive to doomed social engineering projects, such as the reality of front-line soldiers on a battlefield. We should pay heed to what military experience tells us about the psychology of young men. They need clear authority figures, they need structure, they need a purpose and a group with which to fulfil it. Should such a framework be given to the youth of today, then perhaps Western society would begin to see the glimmers of its salvation from the depths of its current liberal nihilism.

The Western man finds himself in a world where traditional values are deemed to be out of date and the centuries-old expectations of manhood is attributed to Western capitalisms “cultural programming,” but military leaders know full well the importance of courage, selflessness and order; an army  nor a society cannot exist in there absence.

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