why follow a warrior code?

US Marine lieutenant Baldomero Lopez scaling t...
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When it comes to codes and “Warrior ethos” I often see the “well they didn’t really live like that” response. To which I say “well naturally so”. Codes are more Ideals to be lived up to rather than laws. These Codes are the ideals that “Warriors” use to carry them through the, “why am I here doing this?” moments. Its the Marine “esprit de corps” that makes them Marines, sets them apart, and is in part a component of what allows the Marines to accomplish what they have. The historic Knights didn’t “live” the Chivalric code 100%, anymore than the Samurai “lived” the Bushido Code. But who could withstand the fear of death with the cynical mindset of “Im here as a tool of national policy and my death here will really have no meaning.” without losing their sanity? People seem to expect those who put themselves in dangerous situations, for at least what they believe to be the “greater good”, to take no pride in what they do. Much like people who want to say that in my line of work that Im not really a “Protector and defender” as much as Im a paper pusher who just shows up to pick up the pieces. Why put up with the fear that the guy you just pulled over has a .357 in his lap, or the next domestic you walk into may be the one you never walk out of, with that kind of mindset? As arrogant as this next bit sounds, I think a lot of it comes from people who consider their lives “less than exciting/adequate” and want to minimize what others do, to negate the foundation of what keeps them going back to work day after day.

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One thought on “why follow a warrior code?”

  1. Another spin on the whole ‘warrior ethos’ or ‘warrior code’ idea is to consider who the authors of these ‘codes’ were individually and collectively. What experience did they have as warriors? Where they part of a class in a society? Where they ‘citizen soldiers?’ In either cases, where were they in their careers or responsibilities to the societies they served when they decided to codify warriorship?

    I agree with you that, for the front line workers shouldering the direct risk, such ethos are a way of remembering the larger picture.

    But, I would also say that the authors of such codes, generally speaking, were/are interested in establishing a form of control over the subculture of warriors to reduce the level of liability they cause. It isn’t a bad thing to put a leash on your guard dog, so please understand that I’m not spinning it into a whole ‘social control/conspiracy or THE MAN’ kind of negative tack.

    Societies shift when it comes to what form and level of violence is acceptable as the cost of stability or expansion. The Romans just about didn’t care, so the ‘warrior ethos’ for the average Roman “Joe Snufficus” would allow them to loot slaves and treasure. As modern Americans it is a major no no for our fighting men/women to conduct themselves the same way.

    Unlike the Sean Connery/Richard Gere movie title implies “First Knight” had a a couple of meanings. “Principle Knight” implied NOT a blood child born of a king, but the Knight who was in highest favor to the Chieftain/King. The other Latin root of the English usage is “Prima Nochta” or “First Night”. Basically, it was sanctioned rape of any peasant girl on her first night of marriage by the invading/occupying Knight in charged of her homeland.

    I think, if there is going to be a guiding ‘code’ that everday people should use for aspirations of personal character, we need to reclaim the dignity of good citizenship.

    I think the idea of just being a ‘good citizen’ just isn’t sexy enough for the average Joe.

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