restricted access Chapter 23.a Which Class, in Democratic Armies,Is the Most Warlike and the Most Revolutionary
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1165 s4s4s4s4s4 c h a p t e r 2 3a Which Class, in Democratic Armies, Is the Most Warlike and the Most Revolutionary It is the essence of a democratic army to be very numerous, relative to the people who furnish it; I will talk about the reasons further along. On the other hand, the men who live in democratic times scarcely ever choose the military career. So democratic peoples are soon led to renounce voluntary recruitment in order to resort to compulsory enlistment.b The necessity of their condition obliges them to take this last measure, and you can easily predictthat all will adopt it. Since military service is compulsory, the burden is shared indiscriminately and equally by all citizens. That again follows necessarily from the condition of these peoples and from their ideas. The government canmore or less do what it wants provided that it addresses itself to everyone at the a. In democratic armies, soldiers, having to spend only a little time in the service,and being drawn to it in spite of themselves, never completely take on the spirit of the army. These are the ones who remain citizens the most. The officers on the contrary, since they are someone in society only because of their military rank,becomeentirely attached to the army and can become like strangers to the country. Their turbulent spirit is often weakened, however, by the stability and the sweet pleasures of the situation already acquired. These reasons are not found to temper the restless ambition of the noncommissioned officers. The latter form the really military and revolutionary element of democratic armies (YTC, CVf, pp. 49–50). b. “The natural tendency of a democratic people is to have an army of mercenaries” (Rubish, 2). 1166 the most warlike class same time; it is the inequality of the burden and not the burden itself that ordinarily makes you resist. Now, since military service is common to all citizens, the clear result is that each of them remains in the service only a few years. Thus in the nature of things the soldier is in the army only in passing, while among most aristocratic nations, the military state is a professionthat the soldier takes or that is imposed on him for life. This has great consequences. Among the soldiers who make up a democratic army, some become attached to military life; but the greatest number , brought in spite of themselves into the service and always ready to return to their homes, do not consider themselves seriously engaged in the military career and think only about getting out of it. The latter do not contract the needs and only half-share the passions that arise from this career . They comply withtheirmilitaryduties,buttheirsoulremainsattached to the interests and the desires that occupied it in civilian life. So they do not take on the spirit of the army; instead they bring into the army the spirit of the society and preserve it there. Among democratic peoples, it is the simple soldiers who most remain citizens; national habits retain the greatest hold and public opinion the most power over them. It is through the soldiers above all that you can hope to make the love of liberty and respect for rights, which you knew how to inspire among the people themselves , penetrate into a democratic army. The oppositehappensamongaristocratic nations, in which the soldiers end up having nothing at all in common with their fellow citizens, living among them like strangers and often like enemies. In aristocratic armies, the conservative element is the officer, becausethe officer alone has kept close ties to civilian society and never gives up the will to resume sooner or later his position there; in democratic armies, it is the soldier and for entirely similar reasons. It often happens, on the contrary, that in these same democratic armies, the officer contracts tastes and desires entirely separate from those of the nation. That is understandable. Among democratic peoples, the man who becomes an officer breaks all the ties that attached him to civilian life; he emerges from it forever and he has no interest in returning to it. His true country is the army, since he is the most warlike class 1167 nothing except by the rank that he occupies there; so he follows the fortune of the army, grows or declines with it, and it is toward the army alone that from now on he directs his hopes. Since the officer has needs very distinct...


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