Palatines And Borderers: The Shirkers And The Workers

The historian Edward Gibbon, in his monumental Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, discourses at length in the second volume of his history on the corruption of the Roman army’s fighting abilities during the principate of Constantine (A.D. 306-337). More and more, Gibbon observes, officers came to view their personal advancement as more important than the security of the state.

Commands became spoils to be handed out to political favorites, rather than offices earned through combat experience. Speaking the truth to the imperial purple was a hazard to one’s career, an invitation to the most vigorous persecution, and finally a threat to one’s life.

A Growing Divide

The Emperor Constantine

The Emperor Constantine

The growth of governmental power birthed an expansion in the administrative agencies of the state. Over time a distinction emerged two types of military leaders: so-called “palatines” and “borderers.” A palatine was a court officer, one who luxuriated behind the front lines and grew fat in indolence and lethargy while preserving his position through sycophancy. A borderer was a frontier-soldier who did the actual fighting and campaigning. As Gibbon describes it:

From the reign of Constantine, a popular and even legal distinction was admitted between the Palatines and the Borderers; the troops of the court as they were improperly styled, and the troops of the frontier. The former, elevated by superiority of their pay and privileges, were permitted…to occupy their tranquil stations in the heart of the provinces…The soldiers insensibly forgot the virtues of their profession, and contracted only the vices of civil life. They were either degraded…or enervated by the luxury of baths and theatres. They soon became careless of their martial exercises, curious in their diet and apparel; and, while they inspired terror to the subjects of the empire, they trembled at the hostile approach of the barbarians. [Gibbon (J.B. Bury ed.), Ch.XVII, p. 188]

Understandably, the borderers who had to do the actual fighting and dying to preserve the empire deeply resented this imbalance of responsibility. Paid less than palatines, the borderers seethed with repressed rage. It was not unheard of for men to take extreme measures to escape military service or the tax-collector by deserting, or by self-mutilation of their hands or feet, despite the severe punishment decreed for such actions.


Gibbon’s views are borne out by the original sources. Ammianus Marcellinus (c. A.D. 325-395), a historian of the late Roman Empire and a military man himself, had this to say on the decline of martial virtues in his time:

To these shameful conditions were added major problems in military discipline. In place of military songs, the soldiers devoted themselves to effeminate crooning. The soldier’s beds were not of stone, as in previous eras, but of stuffed down and folding couches, and their cups were heavier than their swords (as they were embarrassed to drink from earthenware)…In addition, the soldiers were arrogant and brutal to their own countrymen, but shrinking and cowardly in the face of the enemy…[Amm. Marc. XXII.4.6]

The comment that the “cups were heavier than their swords” is an apt image to describe the degeneracy of the palatine fighting spirit: comfort was more important than defense. It is true that such gloomy sentiments are commonly found among ex-generals and historians with axes to grind. It is sometimes fashionable to believe that one’s own era is worse than those that preceded it. Pessimism finds ready acceptance with the angry and marginalized. But even discounting for such distortions, I read these passages above with a great sense of unease. The unease grew greater after the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week became more generally known.

A Modern Version Of The Problem

Modern analogies to the “palatines” and “borderers” of Roman days are uncomfortably easy to identify. Western militaries have become havens of political correctness and social engineering experiments.

Too many Western leaders see their military forces as places to advance their own pet projects in gender “equality” and social welfare; in place of the hard business of military training, the focus is now on sensitivity and the acceptance of deviant behavior. A small cadre of careerist officers at the top flourish by telling the political apparatchiks what they want to hear, thereby perpetuating the corruption and permitting it to part of the institutional culture. The focus in the US military now is not on combat readiness. The focus now is on:

  • Making women feel comfortable
  • Having the military serve as a petri dish for leftist social engineering experiments
  • Serving as a dumping ground for young people for whom no jobs are available
  • Providing a place where private contractors, mercenaries, and opportunists can overcharge the government for doing little or nothing

The price of all this has not yet been paid. The United States, I argue, has not fought a competent enemy since the Vietnam War in the 1960s. That was over forty years ago. In some ways it could be argued that the last competent enemy was the Communist Chinese in Korea in the early 1950s.

The United States has not been seriously challenged in air or sea power since even further back, during the Second World War. These conflicts are little more than ancient history to most military men today, as lost in time as the Roman frontier conflicts recorded by Ammianus Marcellinus.


In 1993, the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Carl E. Mundy, issued orders that would have banned married men from enlisting in the Marine Corps. His vision was a force that was focused on combat readiness. He did not believe that it was the function of the military to provide day-care services to single mothers, or to molly-coddle families and dependents.

His idea was quickly shelved by an embarrassed President. It is difficult to see such a proposal even being made today. One wonders what Mundy would have made of the vogue of “rape” accusations in today’s military.

It is clear that the leadership of many Western countries has utterly betrayed their responsibilities to their nations. Rather than appreciate the masculine virtues for their role in defending their societies, they chose to denigrate those virtues. Rather than exercise caution in launching ill-advised social engineering experiments in their militaries, they undertook a radical program of “gender equality” enforcement.

The betrayal has been thorough and complete. The generals and senior officers who were tasked with stopping these things did little or nothing. They appeared at the required senatorial hearings, mouthed the platitudes they were required to mouth, and then faded into the background, where they could continue to collect their sumptuous salaries.

The Aftermath Of The Shirkers’ Victory

The epidemic of careerism and political correctness has caused severe damage to the readiness of western militaries. It is sapping their morale, their fighting strength, and their cohesiveness. The current climate seeks to create a force of politically indoctrinated stool-pigeons who are adept at informing on each other, but good for little else. Evidence that contradicts the official line is ignored, and the bearers of such evidence are marginalized or shunted aside.

Far too many palatines have embedded themselves into positions of power, and far too few borderers have been left to do the actual tasks of the real world. Everywhere are shirkers, and nowhere are workers. All the while, obesity rates continue to climb, as well as ever louder calls for more and more social experimentation.

Their cups have become heavier than their swords. The net result of this self-destruction can be concealed for a long time, but not forever. There will come a time when the United States is forced to confront an enemy that is as technologically advanced as it is. When this happens—and it will assuredly happen, sooner rather than later—the outcome of the contest will depend on the individual fighting qualities of each man. And there will be no place in this battle for palatines.

Read More: The Ordeal Of Captain Bligh

97 thoughts on “Palatines And Borderers: The Shirkers And The Workers”

  1. As Reagan said…
    “Government is the problem.”
    Doesn’t matter if you hate the man, those words have unassailable truth.

      1. Reagan signed abortion and no fault divorce bills while governor of California. Fuck him…

        1. Not sure about no fault divorce, but Reagan’s stance on abortion there was absolutely correct. He was against abortion, but even more so against the government interfering in the personal lives of the citizenry.

        2. I agree he had flaws such as passing no fault divorce and amnesty. However, he was a good man who loved his country and did his best, unlike our current leader.
          He later admitted that passing no fault divorce was a very bad mistake, and regretted it. He originally passed it to try to get rid of structural problems in the divorce system, but unwittingly created new ones.

  2. The force that faces down and beats our own military may well be the same people that the military was originally intended to defend. That’s us.
    And that is what the present establishment is afraid of more than anything else. (hence the surveillance, stockpiling of weapons and ammo, etc.).

    1. Nope. This establishment has the American people, illegal or otherwise, firmly in it’s welfare enforced grasp.
      “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”-Ben Frankilin

      1. 47% of them at least, but the rest are ours. Who wins if only 10% of the motivated show up, heavily armed and most of us with combat or military experience, versus a foe that can not get out of bed before noon and can to manage to wear pants that do not fall below their underwear? Tens of millions against a few street hoodlums? Not even a contest.

        1. I get that. But I may tend to disagree.
          You see, most people are under the impression, because of our government’s propaganda, that during the revolutionary war, and WW2, that all Americans were of “One heart, and one mind.”
          It is just not true. There were women protesting the war over here. There were men doubting the government, and the GREAT FDR! FDR, most don’t know, was not the amazing saint of stetemenry they all like to claim he was. I don’t care if he got elected 20 times before dying, and thrice as a corpse. He knew of the German Jew camps. He slaughtered tens of thousnads of pigs, trashed millions of pounds of grain during the Great Depression in order to help his cronies fix the price of such commodities. He could have given that to the American people. He was most likely a closet socialist that even McCarthy would have successfully tried. I hate McCarthy, though he was from my state, and actually caught quite a few of the monsters he was looking for. Something people don’t know. However, the power went to his head, and he lost his mind.
          Granted, I get it, leadership is hard. It is darn near impossible as the President.
          So, with that said, I don’t believe you will find many of these “heroic” Americans with rifles showing up to help you take down evil in the Holy name of democracy, and self-independence. It has actually never happened in the history of this country in large groups. Lexington and Concord would most likely not have happened today. The only shot heard round the world of many Americans today is the hit of the bong, and the whisper of the spent condom hitting the cheating wife’s/husband’s floor.
          Contrary to what they say about times past, there was more solidarity and unity before. People generally recognized, and believed in what the government claims to stand for. Many in office certainly do.
          But corruption, like water sinking a ship, slowly drags the whole edifice down. This country is no different. Without new blood of some sort, this country will likely not reach new heights and recover it’s way like it did leading up to, through, and after the two world wars. AN unprecedented event in the history of the planet that never did happen before on that scale. And we squandered it in many ways.
          I have hope. But a lot of the voters here do not share, even remotely in many cases, my sense of urgency in this country’s heading. And they feel that it has never been better. Telling them “No!” and pointing out flaws is a major taboo. They don’t want to hear even an inkling about having to lose “their benefits” which they feel owed. Whether they do or not. The concept of not enough money is not even on their radar. They just think it magically will fall from the wealthy when their tree gets shaken by the ever growing tax code. And their politicians, on both sides, are more than glad to tell them it will. If not in word alone, definitely by their voting records on “The Hill.”
          We have some serious problems.

  3. Great article as always. I was just talking to someone about Gibbon’s work maybe a week ago.

  4. I must say that I don´t really know much about US military (I´m from Europe), but comparing it to Roman military is ridicolous. First off, high ranking Romans served in military only to advance their polititical careers and to get rich. Second, Gibbon is outdated source at best, I would not trust him in many things. And lastly, late roman army was still very good fighting force, and the mobile armies were better and hed it tougher than the border units.

    1. You admit that you “don’t really know much about the US military” but yet you see fit to describe as “ridicolous” [sic] my comparing elements of it with another military force. Do you see the problem with your statement? I certainly do.
      Second, your comments on the military officialdom of the Empire in the second and third centuries are a gross oversimplification. Praefects, duces, comes, and military governors achieved their stations both as a result of their abilities and as a result of patronage. Some were men of great ability; others were worthless. It was a mixed picture, which was precisely the point of my article.
      My point in the article was not to make a line-for-line comparison between the two military forces, but to highlight elements of corruption common to both. This point stands.
      Finally, your dismissal of Gibbon as “outdated” is wrong. His scholarship is immense and incredibly detailed. Have you ever seen the unabridged, seven volume version of his history? His footnotes are a treasury of learning. He studied the most recondite and miniscule aspects of classical antiquity, including weights, measures, coins, laws, codes, commerce, and a hundred other subjects. He read the original sources in their original languages, and quotes them in painstaking detail. Of course, in the 200 years since his history was written, scholars have come to reject a few of his sources as untrustworthy (e.g., the Historia Augusta). But not many. But when one considers the whole project, it is incredible that it has held up so well. In all general points, Gibbon still stands.

    2. ” First off, high ranking Romans served in military only to advance their polititical careers and to get rich.”
      Actually if you go by authors like John T. Reed (for example, here: ) or indeed David Hackworth (his book “About Face” in particular) you find that many high ranking US Army officers do indeed serve in the military to advance their careers and get rich. Take a look at where US Army generals go after they resign from the military. Which corporations do they work for? As for political careers – in the past seventy-odd years, we have had roughly two US Presidents who were not in the military: Obama and Clinton. It’s three if you count Bush II as a draft dodger because he served in the National Guard rather than regular military. John Kerry was popularly accused by veterans of demanding his Purple Heart for his future intended political career.
      Hackworth’s view was that the rot started to set in more or less around Korea, as the Army started to move from being an army of conquest to essentially a garrison force. When you are garrisoning essentially peaceful territories, bureaucracy inevitably begins to raise its head, results are thrown out in favour of process-orientation, and the career climbers start dominating the structure.
      Indeed I see Quintus’s article as *really* being about results-orientation versus process-orientation. In war, militaries *should* be focused on the former, because it’s the former that wins victories. Ultimately the military’s prime job in war is to produce an unambiguous string of victories, mainly because that’s what wins wars. In reality, militaries — especially the US one — are far more focused on the latter, on process and looking the part. See more about it here:

  5. Females have no business in any military, kids or not. They have neither the ability to compete with military men, nor inclination for strategic thought. They also destroy group cohesion, unknowingly or otherwise. Men can’t fight a war when their lizard brains are telling them to protect little miss special snowflake when the shit hits the fan on the front lines. All these military commercials showing women in Berets smiling and saluting make me want to fucking puke. Smile and Salute all you want, but when the US has to fight an actual war Sally the 5 foot tall, 100 pound, single mother in uniform is going to fold faster than France could surrender in WW2.

    1. Not only are the fitness requirements for the military today are a joke, but the amount of women in the army is shocking. Just try, if you can, to picture women storming the beaches of Normandy on D-day, or fighting in the sweltering jungles of Vietnam. They would probably complain so much the enemy would be forced to surrender rather than hear the incessant whining that would occur.

      1. I’m a three time deployed vet, and was “forward deployed” for ten years.
        I sadly, ashamedly am forced to approve of these messages.
        The succor with which these “palatines” in high commands run things naturally roots out the greatest for loss of advancement.
        Fresh ideas are scolded with one careerist’s look of anger. My own Officer In Charge of my department asked me once “Jesse (not my name), do you think I’m a yes man?”
        Me: “Yes sir! No offense.”
        OIC: “what I expected you’d say. I get that. You Jesse, are a ‘Why?’ guy.”
        Me: “Sir, YES SIR!”
        OIC: “Hehe, I have stupidly asked questions to the skipper (A officer I use to respect, but now question that response after some things I discovered; Mot likely still respect) has given me looks that could kill. Even as soon as I raised my hand to ask his superior.”
        “I would not have gotten even this far had I asked many questions.”
        Don’t get me wrong. I respected this guy quite a bit. He was also a pilot. Very organized. Even overcame a tremendous disability to keep being an aviator! But I would not follow him, or that skipper to battle. And not just because of them, but also because I would not trust whomever they were selected by as staff officers.
        There are far too few Bull Halseys, “Blue Blanket” McCains, MacArthurs, Capt. Gatchs, and Pattons. Forget another Teddy Roosevelt. It would take an act of God to get him in today. And the people would probably revolt in protest. I for one suspect Halsey should have gotten worse for his decision during “Typhoon Cobra” when he chose to take the fleet through it, in order to attack his enemy. But now come to think of it, Chester Nimitz, the last Fleet Admiral ever, was right to keep him there. He at least had the balls to attack an enemy who was his equal at the risk of men.
        Not many men like that left at the top, if any.
        I don’t think it is hopeless. But steadily approaching.

      2. New battle technique for a new world in a modern time? All female military. Instead of fighting, we send Lena Dunham to command an army of cunts to emasculate the enemy until they are asking us “is anything wrong” every time we cough.
        Also, I think that Naked pictures of dunham will effectively destroy the population as effectively as sterilization as after one glimpse of the discarded wad of bubble gum that she calls her cunt the enemy will not be capable of getting hard for at least a decade.

      3. The Hunger Games fantasy fuelled females of today would be convinced they could hack it in those theatres of war you mentioned, lol.

        1. Quickest way to end Feminism? Mandate an all female military and send them to the desert or jungle.

        2. It would be an amusing spectacle, though, to send in a pack of millennial women armed with bows and arrows against a fully-armed platoon of US Marines. You could even try and make it semi-fair by giving the Marines WW2-era gear and weapons.

    2. Women can do back office support stuff state-side, administrative clerical work. My grandmother did that way back before WWII. Pretending they are equal to men in combat is beyond stupid.

        1. Includes combat medical technician role – personally wouldn’t care if the front line medic digging bullets out of my carcase was a man or a woman.

    3. Red Army, WWII, saw a TV interview with some elderly ladies who’d been members of an all female tank crew at the Battle of Kursk. Medals they’d earned would have been a huge matter of pride even if they’d been men. Soviets didn’t coddle servicewomen on the front line. May be you aren’t aware of this, since few, if any, ‘Muricans served on the Eastern Front.

      1. Russian women of WWII and the modern western women are a completely different species. Perhaps you could train women to become efficient soldiers through mental and physical conditioning starting very early in life. However I wouldn’t recommend it. I think that men naturally thrive together as a unit, facing adversity and death, much better than their female counterparts.

      2. There are always exceptions to rules but we strive to conform to the rule, not it’s few exceptions. Also, only a feminist HERstory professor could be delusional to enough to attribute the “victory” at Kursk to a few women in a tank. Not to mention while the tank was surely not cozy, it beats the hell out of landing at Normandy or walking through the Jungle in Nam.

    4. We can no longer sit back and allow feminist infiltration, feminist indoctrination, feminist subversion, nor the international feminist conspiracy to sap, and impurify, all of our precious bodily fluids.

        1. I think the mission statement of ROK should be “to protect our precious bodily fluids.”

    5. I disagree. There are paperwork jobs that suite women just fine in the Army. However I do agree with destroying unit cohesion. Luckily we havent made the decision to allow women on the front lines with the Infantry guys yet. There is currently a huge push for women to go Ranger and to fight on the front lines. The minute that happens our credibility as a military will be ruined. From a logistics stand point- if you are on an Afghani hill top in a 200 foot by 200 foot patrol base shitting in a hole in the ground you are going to have to build a second living area for females as well as seperate latrines. they are going to need special treatment once a month that an austere environment such as that simply cant provide so now you’ve taken one of my “Soldiers” off of duties making the other actual Soldiers pull more weight while already being unbelievably stressed. God forbid men at war crack a sexist joke in the new integrated Infantry………

      1. Yeah you will have to attend sensitivity training. And they can do all that paperwork bullshit without being in the rank structure.

    1. Is that a special force of women that we send into a war or special missions to complain about shit that they “don’t have”?
      It should work like a charm….no man (from any country) would want to put up with that shit.

      1. Given the current obesity epidemic in the US and the armed forces generally, it gives the old name “Bouncing Betty” a whole new lease on life…

    2. What, you mean the ones that will only have sufficient aggression and pissed-offedness for 5 days in a month?

    3. Imagine a special force of elite GI women smashing the enemy lines and dominating their forces.
      A forceful brash group of bitches with strategic intelligence and special training in the art of war slaughtering axes of evil carrying the US banner.
      Bitches with rifles and heavy machine guns in tanks calling shots and taking no prisoners.
      Look, I don’t know where i’m going with this….

      1. Well, you’re obviously going towards the final climactic scene of the film where Texas’s newly-built army of T-101s massacres the lot of them.

  6. I like the article but I must say I don’t see the problem
    with the weakening of the military. If the US military becomes a joke well
    would that not lead to the end result of being less wars? If one looks at the
    European powers (France and England) in Libra 2011 before the US entered, they
    not keep it up the campaign and needed help. If the US military not help the
    voters in France and England would have questioned the spending and risk of
    lives. End result of politicians in the future not declaring war.
    The real problem I think with the current US military and
    the politics of it is two fold
    1.The US and most other Nuclear power will not in the near
    future be threaten by outside powers so don’t have to worry about having a big
    military. But a lot of the nuclear powers do not shirk their spending and tread
    to act on the world stage knowing that they will get little retaliation (the
    Iraq invasion 03).
    2. Since WW2 onwards the thinking in mainly the US military
    is that you win modern wars not by great tactics on the ground but by
    dominating the air. One of the problems with this type of thinking is that for
    one the US has not won a war (other than the first Gulf War) since WW2. The
    bombing campaign can achieve many things but it can also to tend to lead to the
    deaths of many thousands of civilians as many of the wars since WW1 have.

    1. The problem with your thesis is Russia: they are actively annexing territory. Wars are still being fought. If you set the minimum level of force to engage the enemy at nuclear weaponry then we’re much more likely to escalate to near nuclear war without other conventional deterrents. There will always be people willing to push boundaries as far as they go.
      Civilian deaths from bombings have been steadily going down, particularly after we started using GPS guided munitions. See:
      Our losing of wars has more to do with strategic issues surrounding the battlespace than tactical ones.

      1. Sorry it must of posted twice once as guest. Anyway Eric i was partly starting that it would be better if the USA slow down it wars and if the weakling of the military is what happening then it might turnout to be a good thing. Could you image if say they declare war and the army could not mobilizes. Civilian deaths will happen in war even with GPS guided missiles, just take a quick look on many Civilian had been killed by US forces in Iraq. Some of the reason this happen is one mistakes happen, miscalculations on where it would land, wrong target such as hitting civilian buildings thinking they are militarily, technical errors, miscalculations on the environmental effects such as hitting a chemical plant, power plant, water pipes, mistaken identity such as friendly fire or mistaking civilian, left over toxins from missiles such as depleted uranium and I am sure many other accidents can happen in war. This is if all goes well and only accidents happens and not purpose killing of civilian which trends to happens in long wars.

      2. I’d suggest that if America goes isolationist — which necessarily also means a weak US military — the odds of war on any of the other continents increase, not decrease. Europe’s history alone is basically one of all-but-constant warfare in one part or another before the US really got involved at the end of WW1. The UN’s credibility would be all but bankrupt, since it basically relies on the US for any of its armed clout. Sadly, the world needs a cop on the beat even if he’s part-time, and there isn’t anyone the world trusts other than the US to do the job. NATO is basically funded and armed by the US. It would last roughly two weeks in conventional terms against a full Warsaw Pact offensive without support from America.

        1. The history of the US has really comes down to two foreign
          views one is the Founding Fathers and the other view is the Wilson view. I would say that the United States foreign policy has been more or less change follow the President Wilson view of policing the world. Now there was a little bit of a push back after WW1 but after Pearl harbour that US since become the world’s police man and lead today having military bases in over 100 countries and sending forces in multiple wars.
          You can argue whether or not this policy has been positive
          and if the US should of follow it in the first place but the real questions are this
          1. How long can the US continue as the world police?
          2. Should the public have a say about if they want to police the world?
          And lastly 3. Does it actually matter what happens over in another part of the world?
          I ask the last question in part because conflicts happen that the US does not get involve and in some case actually support some authoritarian regimes yet the world still goes on.
          In the case of WW1 you have to remember two things one the US was making a profit during the earlier part of the war selling weapons, ammo and leading money to the allies. The intervention was happening before the decoration of war in that case it help the allies continue the war longer and make it more deadlier. The other thing is that by entering the war it help tip the balance of power towards the allies. So much so that the treaty of Versailles was force on the losing side, helping sow the seeds for the next war and also making it more likely that the next war would be a total war.
          The public voted Wilson back in 1916 on his campaign that ran the slogan “He kept us out of war”. Wilson also put a list (Wilson’s fourteen points) of agreements to the German people to help end the war, a lot of the points were change in the treaty of Versailles but the German forces were already demonize.

        2. Well, let’s go and look at the three questions:
          1. How long can the US continue as the world police? My answer would be, for the foreseeable future – partially because of its massive strategic, economic, and technological advantage, and partially because nobody else can seriously contemplate an alternative to it.
          2. Should the public have a say about if they want to police the world? Certainly – but an uninformed decision made by the public is nothing more than populism. Like it or not, America does not stand alone in the world even if it is the pre-eminent power in it. Does the public get a vote in whether a country joins the UN, or recognises the UN’s authority, for example?
          3. Does it actually matter what happens in another part of the world? In the pre-atomic era, possibly not. In the atomic age, it does, because a serious thermonuclear exchange has a good chance of ending all life, American or not, on the planet. America had a major role to play in setting off the atomic era, but the evidence shows that if they had not or indeed had tarried a few years in getting involved in WW2, Germany would have developed it first – they had their own atomic program well under way in 1944-45. And Russia was only a few years behind. In a way, America’s letting the atomic genie out of its bottle morally compels it to remain involved in international affairs – because it’s one of the few players on the planet with sufficient coercive force to bring another major atomic power to the negotiating table. I would suggest it is the nuclear weapon that has united the world, far more than the Internet, far more than even the UN.

        3. I think I can see where you are coming from. Though I may disagree with some of your views I think you are right about question 1 in that the foreseeable future it will continue to be the case. I think nuclear weapons though potential world destroying weapons has so far stop major powers from fighting each other, no more world wars. I think the US policy will continue the wars and getting involve in foreign affairs. This until either the money ran out or the public get restless (at this point in time unlikely) and pushes to change course then the next president that gets elected foreign policy will sound a lot like John Quincy Adams “…But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

        4. Also we should not forget his other ‘accomplisment’, the Federal Reserve Bank. Something he admitted to being the worst decision of his career in his auto-biography.

        5. While I agree with you on Federal Reserve being one of his major decision that we still live with today. I was more talking about the two different Foreign Policy views that have been debate throughout most of US history and also a lot of Western History.
          The Federal Reserve is more the affect of the Wilson view of what the US government should be both in domestic and foreign. Yes it was set up in 1913 to be the central bank but why has the decision not been reverse since then?
          I think it comes down to Power. The President of today can affect worldwide events. A President that reverse the central bank would be giving up a lot of power. Another thing is a lot of people who want the position are not always the most moral or wisest people. Some effect of the power is one example how can say Bush declare war without rising taxes?

  7. I like the article but I must say I don’t see the problem
    with the weakening of the military. If the US military becomes a joke well
    would that not lead to the end result of being less wars? If one looks at the
    European powers (France and England) in Libra 2011 before the US entered, their
    military could not keep up the air campaign and needed help. If the US military
    had not gone in, then the voters and media of France and England would have
    questioned the spending and risk of lives (and any losses) on a war that at the
    end achieve nothing. The politicians of the future in these countries would by default
    limit declaring war without a major power.
    The real problem I think with the current US military and
    the politics of it is two fold
    1.The US and most other Nuclear power will not in the near
    future be threaten by outside powers so don’t have to worry about having a big
    military. But a lot of the nuclear powers do not shirk their spending on arms
    and tread to act on the world stage knowing that they will get little
    retaliation (the Iraq invasion 03).
    2. Since WW2 onwards the thinking in mainly the US military
    is that you win modern wars not by great tactics on the ground but by
    dominating the air. One of the problems with this type of thinking is that for
    one the US has not won a war (other than the first Gulf War) since WW2. The
    bombing campaign can achieve many things but it can also to tend to lead to the
    deaths of many thousands of civilians as many of the wars since WW1 have.

  8. Hello Quintus,
    I’m highly interested in joining the Marines and was wondering if you could answer a few of my questions? First I’m trying to decide whether to enlist and then go to occ in a couple of years or to go straight into occ. From what i have read online it seems like former and current Marines think that officers who started off as enlisted are much better than officers who come in straight from college. From your experience do you think that this is true? In order to be an effective leader should I enlist first? I think this sort of ties into your article above.
    Also what is your opinion on the state of the Marine corps? I have not seen any articles online about the Marines lowering standards, so that women can be in combat positions, like I have with the army. Are the Marines combat ready and is becoming a Marine officer still a good way to learn to be a leader?

    1. There’s a lot of debate about that. That is, do guys who were former enlisted guys make better officers. The answer is this: sometimes yes, sometimes no. I saw “prior enlisted” officers who were fantastic and ones who were bad, never learning how to make the transition.
      I absolutely do not believe that you should enlist “just because” you think it will help you be a better officer. That is not true. It might actually hurt you.
      So, when it comes to deciding which path to a commission you want to take, it depends on where you are right now. Are you in school? Are you working? You really need to talk to a recruiter and find out your options.
      As for the state of the USMC today, I really don’t have an informed opinion. I’ve been out for 14 years. But if I were to throw a guess out there, I don’t like what I’ve seen in recent years.
      You got women in the combat arms fields. You have women trained together with men in TBS (Basic School). More political correctness. That was always there but it’s gotten worse. A lot worse. They’re even allowing women to go to IOC now. (infantry officers’ course).
      So, I am not very optimistic about the state of things now.
      The only way all this bullshit will wash away is if we have an all-out, major conflict, with an real enemy.

  9. Our military was also undermanned and underfunded in the 1930s under America’s first socialist President, and we all know what happened next. If you enlist today, you’re signing up for the next Bataan Death March. Let the feminists, gays, and trannies have that honor.

  10. Quintus, Great article. I would disagree only in this. I think that the US has faced more than it’s match in Viet Nam and the Middle East. How so? Even though we won every engagement, ultimately we lost the wars. The North Vietnamese showed up at the Paris peace Talks to surrender and were caught flat footed when we announced we were pulling out. They called for a break because they didn’t even have a back up plan for that option and had to come up with something. Look at Iraq and now Afghanistan. Again we ‘won’ all major battles, but to what end. As soon as we leave our enemies take over and kill or torture their countrymen that helped us. Then we resort to ‘light air strikes’ and drone strikes to keep a lid on things. Read William Lind on the concept of Fourth Generation Warfare, and I think you will appreciate the brilliance of some of our recent enemies. Vox Day talks about this on his blog and his publishing venture Castalia House is publishing a bunch of Lind’s stuff.

    1. Lind is interesting – in particular he’s argued the US Navy as a whole is basically useless because it’s still structured to fight World War 2. Its carrier groups are patiently awaiting that next Japanese fleet to sail on Midway.
      America’s issues with Vietnam and the Middle East ultimately come down to the fact that large conventional armies are not much good at asymmetrical warfare, which is rather a pity given that the era of symmetrical, large-scale conventional warfare more or less ended over Hiroshima in August 1945.
      (That said, occasionally you get a clown who’s silly enough to fight that way. Desert Storm lasted literally 100 hours and in military terms was like a Special Forces operative taking on the schoolyard bully. Even Britain’s general, Rupert Smith, called the much-vaunted Iraqi Republican Guard a “poor lot”. More US troops were killed by friendly fire than the Iraqis shot.)
      But then the US stands in largely the same position as the Athenian army ahead of its failed invasion of Syracuse (in Sicily) in 415 BC. Thucydides wrote about it:
      “So thoroughly had the present prosperity persuaded the Athenians that nothing could withstand them, and that they could achieve what was possible and what was impracticable alike, with means ample or inadequate it mattered not. The reason for this was their general extraordinary success, which made them confuse their strengths with their hopes.”
      But even then they had people who understood the real nature of countering insurgency and fighting asymmetrical wars – Nicias, the Athenian general who warned the Athenians:
      ‘We must not disguise from ourselves that we go to found a city among strangers and enemies, and that he who undertakes such an enterprise should be prepared to become master of the country the first day he lands, or failing in this to find everything hostile to him’
      In short, asymmetrical war comes down to setting the rules of engagement in favour of your strengths – in the West’s case, an unmatched technological and firepower advantage. The Iraqis in Desert Storm let the US set the rules of engagement, and got vaporised for it. In every insurgency situation, the US has allowed its enemies – foreign and domestic – to set the rules of engagement. A great degree of ruthlessness is required in war, and the West – enabled by generals too worried about their pensions and reputations to argue otherwise – refuses to be ruthless.

    2. Good points, Stryker.
      But remember that I was speaking about something very specific here. I said that the US has not faced a competent enemy (militarily) since Vietnam and perhaps even Korea.
      The key phrase here is “competent enemy.” Even though we lost in Vietnam and (arguably) in the Middle East, I don’t consider the Iraqis to have been militarily “competent.” Their army could not fight its way out of paper bag.
      We lost for other reasons. Not because they out-generaled us. I am not minimizing our defeat, of course. But we lost for other reasons (geopolitics, impossible goals, popular resistance, etc.)
      Same story with the Vietnamese. Yes, we lost. But we lost because we had impossible military goals, and all the enemy had to do was keep fighting and outlast us. I think this is very different from saying we were militarily out-classed.

    3. Israel certainly won those wars.Their enemy Iraq was balkanized beyond repair; and the idealistic Taliban who vehemently hated western “values”, Israel, narcotics dealing, and degeneracy was removed from power. The United States on the other hand spent trillions of dollars, damaged it’s image in the world and hurt it’s own image with it’s citizens at home, and lost thousands of lives in the process. Not to mention the millions of civilians that were killed as well. From Israel’s standpoint; why fight the war when you can get someone else to spend the money and time? America is dumb as a brick.

    4. Hey, Bush won the Iraq War and Nixon won the Vietnam War just as much as Lincoln won the Civil War. It’s not their fault that later presidents withdrew support and let these hard-won victories come unglued.
      This happens partly because, not being a monarchy, we elect a new president who lacks any personal stake in the achievements of his predecessor, and partly because we think liberal democracy is the End of History, so once we force the conquered nation to hold elections, their future as a peaceful, prosperous American ally is secure. Whereas in Germany, Japan, and Korea, peace is secured by our troops still being there.

  11. Great article. America, aka Ancient Rome 2.0, is well into its “Bread and Circuses” phase.
    Our constant obsession with superficial physical pleasures, feminism, worship of all things “creative”, and lack of physical fitness combined with an increasingly disturbing reliance on technology for even the most basic of physical exertions has left us a nation of drooling toddlers with arms outstretched to Papa Guv’ment and Mama Materialism to wipe the spittle from our slack-jawed faces.
    As Quintus pointed out, the military is now “providing a place where private contractors, mercenaries, and opportunists can overcharge the government for doing little or nothing.” One of the reasons for the fall of Ancient Rome was that towards the end the replacement rate for the Roman Army dropped to nonexistent levels due to the emasculation of young men who all wanted to be “actors” and “creative types” (sound familiar?), so they had to resort to hiring mercenaries to protect the empire. The problem with mercenaries is that they’re not loyal out of any sense of patriotism, they’re loyal to money. When the money ran out, those same mercenaries were among those who betrayed and sacked Rome.
    Today, PMC’s (Private Military Companies/Corporations) are the modern equivalent of those same mercenaries. Sure they’ll do anything you tell them because you’re paying them way more than regular military, but when the money runs out…
    This is an old article, but I think its point will always be valid:

  12. The military is a traditionaly a masculine establishment an in the overly feminized west no bastions of masculinity are allowed. Which is why the military in western countries has been turned the way it is.

  13. I feel sorry for anybody who had to serve under obama, the rules of engagement were changed with soldiers required to behave as police, waiting until they are fired upon before engaging.

  14. Banning married men in the military is a terrible idea. Who else but a father understands what he is truly fighting for?

      1. They fight for their family. I fought for my family.
        I understand that they fight for each other, but why on earth would they fight for someone else’s family?
        I am from WV. we fight for our family as much, if not more, than our comrades. One of the reasons WV has contributed more soldiers to every single american war than any other two states combined.
        Of course, it was also the reason for the Hatfields v McCoys.
        Not to mention, would you TRUST a military made up of only those who have nothing to lose?

        1. I will have to reservedly agree with Quintus here. As long as your family needs you and it would be a Very Bad Thing for them if you died, you have a moral rationalization for self-preservation, a.k.a. cowardice.

        2. “We’re all scared. You hid in that ditch because you think there’s still hope. But Blithe, the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier’s supposed to function. Without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends on it. ” – from Band of Brothers. Soldiers with nothing to lose function better than those worried about returning to their families.

    1. Agreed. During WW2 to motivate the british soldier the army issued a special card depicting a nice little cottage in Kent with the text: This is what you’re fighting for!
      It worked.

  15. Here’s an article from The Atlantic from a few years ago.* It’s about how the military’s inefficient, risk-averse bureaucracy pushes out some of the most talented officers in favor of mediocre conformists.

  16. Very interesting & well written! I have your book Thirty Seven on route to my place & I bet it will be a treat judging from your posts here at ROK.
    I recently saw a documentary which was about private army contractors & one of the seniors there said that anyone who’s any good in the U.S military is no longer in it. A bold statement indeed. They work nowadays for these “private armies” that e.g either protects some shady character from his enemies/competition or are hired by the U.S government as contractors in various conflict areas. You mentioned this a bit & their tendency to overcharge (especially in comparison to what army soldiers get).
    It was the money that supposedly made ex. soldiers flock there instead of staying in the army.

  17. Let to go get a flashback on history who were the Vikings? Men, who where the roman empire? Men, what composed the pahroah army in Egypt? Men, who fought the revolutionary war? Men, who fought the civil war? Men, what consisted the Nazis of hitler? Men, who beat the fuck out of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo during ww2? Men……its clear that the military is for men…but the US military is busy of catering an environment for women and feel good political correctness shit…..I mean ISIS is tougher than our military….is sad to see this.

  18. Quintus, in the tag line to this article you make mention that only one “should be defending us”. Why do you think anyone at all should be defending you? Does it not make more sense and is it not more in keeping with being a man that you and only you, should be defending you.

    1. I didn’t write that line, the editor did.
      But it’s just a harmless filler line that refers to the fact that our national “defense” forces should be filled by worthy persons. Not unworthy ones.
      It was not meant to refer to personal issues.

      1. Editors eh? Tsk tsk…
        I have to say though I don’t think it’s harmless at all. There seems to be implicit message in American media that the government and by extension the military should “defend us”. The most egregious example I saw of this was a man on Fox News singing a song thanking the American Soldier for” keeping us safe”. I can’t tell you how pathetic and unmanly it was watching a grown man thanking boys for keeping him safe.
        I am with Jefferson. There should be no standing army (this includes paramilitaries like the police) tasked with “defending us”. This gives the government the pretext on which to restrict our access to firearms and our right to defend ourselves. A real man trusts himself to defend his family. He does not rely on boys to do it for him.

  19. The Palantine mentality extends far closer to combat than many probably imagine. For example, as a young Marine officer, I participated in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. Higher echelons passed down an order that we could not have our weapons in condition one when crossing into country for fear of “negligent discharges.” This was a combat arms unit invading a foreign country and taking fire. Sadly, no one questioned this idiocy, and it fell to me, a First Lieutenant, to quietly tell my Marines to ignore it.
    This is only one story, but suffice it to say that I have many others and have therefore concluded that anyone above a junior field grade officer should be treated with suspicion and assumed to be worthless until he proves otherwise. Those who have proven otherwise, I can count on one hand with fingers left over.

  20. “you love life and we love death ” said the al-Qaeda spokesman on a tape released three days after the madrid bombing of march 11,2004, proposing a distinction between a warrior movement of soldiers prepared to die and a complacent consumerist culture. hmm could he be a border, and have we turned into our version of “fire base gloria” if you seen the movie you’ll know what im talking about

  21. As a currently serving Army Officer I cannot agree more. I spend more time planning for Women’s Equality Month or Asian Pacific Islander Appreciation Month festivities than I do training my Soldiers to engage, close with, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America. We have been so successful as a military the last 30 years because we are fighting people who live in the stone age literally living in caves (they are very ingenuitive to their credit). Luckily I swallowed the red pill before I was locked in for a 20 year career as a stoolie for some yes men (and women).

    1. Sitting through “rape culture” and “sensitivity” videos every month was the best wasn’t it? I feel like we spent more time on that bullshit pre-deployment than actual combat readiness. Female Officers/Warrant Officers/NCO’s are the fucking worst.

      1. I’ll be free in October. Until then I imagine I’ll have to sit through 3 more sexual harrassment classes. Also as of this year they have started teaching that 2 of age adults with even 1 drink in them are totally incapable of consenting to sex. Woe unto the Soldier who picks up a female Soldier at the bar and doesnt get proof it was consensual

        1. It’s fucking ridiculous. They even show videos of “drunk” female soldiers being “preyed” upon. What they want us to take from the video? Male=bad Female=helpless victim angel yet at the same time powerful independent career military round house kick chick gurl power. Got it.

  22. A timely and thought-provoking article, Quintus. Once upon a time, I rested in the idea that, if our government went nuts, they would still have an hard time getting the military and the police to fire upon us. Over the past ten years, their social experimentation and active recruitment of the maladjusted has stuffed the ranks of each with exactly the wrong kinds of people. I knew three solid, conservative men who joined one branch or other of the armed services. One asked for a discharge in disgust, because he had had enough of taking orders from incompetent women. The other two complained that only the soft, twisted and perverse were selected for promotion to leadership positions.
    The police force has also worried me more in recent years, since they hire mentally sub-par cowards, and often women, who seem to prefer to shoot at the first hint of danger rather than comport themselves with valor (I am not speaking of the Michael Brown case, here; I don’t side with police, but that doesn’t mean I’m a Michael Brown fan, either!). Over the years, I have gone from trusting our armed personnel to stay on our side, to developing the certain conviction that they will not. There were two girls in my “Contemporary Problems in Moral Philosophy” course at Ohio State, both ROTC. I was routinely appalled at their lack of ethics, and their lack of ability to think about ethics, not to mention the chip they had on their shoulders for being “Latina women.” My only hope, at this point, is that these people will be too incompetent to pose a very great danger to us!
    I’ve thought about what to do. It seems that having men join the armed forces or the police is counter-productive, since the best men are passed over or rejected out of hand (especially for promotion but, in the case of the police, often for mere acceptance), leaving them powerless to do much in the organizations. In regards to this problem and many others, I have begun to think that establishing “parallel structures” is the right approach. We are not going to have much success in entering and co-opting such organizations, especially with the pc stranglehold still being so effective. But if men get together and start working on erecting working, parallel systems – parallel currencies (like bitcoin, or trading in metals), parallel systems for banking and loans, parallel security and defense systems, parallel systems for accreditation, education, networking, etc. – then those who are “in the know” can begin making use of them now and, as the corroded institutions of society begin to falter, we are in a position to move in to the vacuum and possibly even to quickly seize and co-opt the resources of collapsing structures.
    I’ve been meaning to pick your brain about several upcoming projects, and this is one of them. I’ll try to shoot you an email soon.

    1. Agreed about the police force….I am based in Europe, English speaking Island on the periphery (I’ll let you guess). Anyhoo the police force here over the last 20 years is more concerned with self enrichment than the enforcement of the law. One of the most successful night clubs in the capital owned by a….. cop…. profits in the millions a year. Joke going around.,.. guy walking by his friends house sees his buddy building a wall… guy says “why you building the wall?” He replies, “I’m training to be a cop.”

  23. As an Army vet, I can attest to this. While there are still plenty of tough competent masculine men in the service, there is definitely political pressure if one wants to rise through the ranks…especially as an officer. The military is also home to ridiculous amounts of social engineering, social justice, feminization, and babying, which produces sub-par troops, leadership, and which kills the morale and readiness of the average grunt who is worth a damn. I believe it is all by design, for the progressives know that the military is the last and most powerful federal institution which they do not control, so therefore it is a intentional poisoning of this institution through social justice and cultural Marxism in order to turn it, like all other federal agencies, to the left.

  24. I’d like to thank you for a well-written and thought provoking article.
    However, the article focused mostly on the military. I’m wondering if the issues described here are not applicable to pretty much any job, corporation, or general population of people.
    My experience is mostly in the tech industry.While this was a career that until recently was almost entirely male dominated, I do not think I can attribute increased female presence to the growing symptoms I’ve seen over the past five years: (1) Labs are mostly empty while meeting rooms are constantly in use. (2) An increased presence of ‘idea people’ who target others implement their amazing works of genius. (3) An emphasis on sociability and networking as opposed to concrete results. (4) More and more willingness to mislead or outright lie, as there is no official accountability for that sort of thing. (5) Falsely manufactures competence being loudly rewarded (we had one self promoter receive a hefty reward for presenting an idea that had already been quietly in use for years).
    Not sure where I’m going with this, but I have noticed that the more technically competant people were willing to leave. Sometimes without even having anything else lined up.

  25. I am a retired AF officer and I find the recent policy changes instituted in the military to be very damaging to our services. Open homosexuality and same sex marriage, women in the combat arms (e.g. infantry, artillery and armor), an oppressive PC attitude that stifles reasoned dissent, and depleting resources from a legitimate constitutional function of the federal government (national defense) to be diverted to fund illegitimate functions like welfare, free education, Obamacare etc. It all serves to weaken our fighting ability over time. Make no mistake, we will have to fight someone in the future. War will not go away. It is part of the human condition. But can our citizenry and by extension our armed forces prevail in a truly life and death conflict that can destroy all we have come to hold dear? Yes for the time being, but in the future I am not so sure. I hope I will not be around to see the fall. But unless we as citizens do something to stop the decay soon, we may be bequeathing to our posterity a future that looks a lot like slavery.

  26. Our military is so weak and pathetic now it isn’t even funny any more. The inclusion of women is destroying it.
    Biologically, over the centuries men have always been fighting the wars while women were the ones taking care of their kids to make new soldiers and labourers. You can’t change thousands of years and natural selection over a scant few years and most likely never will.
    When those Islamic extremists start becoming a dangerous cohesive force, they’ll fucking annihilate our infantry, rape the female ones, and kill our men.
    It doesn’t matter how strong or well-oiled the machine is, but the operator that controls it.
    And right now? The operator wants a pedicure with a side of fries.

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