The Military Mentality

It’s quite easy for nation builders to believe they are doing good. I can attest from personal experience, handing out other people’s money feels great, especially handing it out to desperately poor populations and in exotic and far-away places.

Locals demonstrate a profound reverence you’ve probably never encountered before (and never will again). They hang on your every word. Why should a nation builder look past his personal greatness and benevolence and see in himself instead a bureaucrat respected only because his thumb rests on the flow of money?

If it’s not the goodness of the endeavor, then it’s the goodness of the institution. Soldiers can consider the military a proud institution steeped in noble tradition — I’m not sure I entirely disagree — and many stand ready to let themselves be wielded as a weapon by the representatives of their state. (Read more from