Hardihood, Force of Character, and Patriotism

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

The strength of a nation stems from the strength of its people and their patriotism, Andrew Bisset explains:

The fundamental element of a nation’s strength is the physical hardihood of its people, combined with that force and energy of character which are the consequences of such hardihood, and the patriotism, or love of and pride in country, which is the consequence of some degree of good government. Accordingly, all nations which have been at any time strong have encouraged the use of manly and athletic exercises; the neglect of which has a most pernicious effect, not only on the bodily strength, but on the bodily and mental health and courage of the community.

For a coward — a man incapable of defending himself — as a celebrated writer has observed, wants one of the most essential parts of the character of a man, being as much mutilated and deformed in his mind as a man who is deprived of some of his limbs, or has lost the use of them, is in his body. And to prevent that sort of mental mutilation, deformity, and wretchedness which cowardice necessarily involves in it, from spreading through the great body of the people, deserves the most serious attention of the government; in the same manner as it would deserve its most serious attention to prevent a deadly pestilential disease from spreading itself among them.

Bisset is writing in Britain in 1859. Attitudes have changed.

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