Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In Remembrance of the Farmer Führer

The Roman mind is the mind of the farmer and soldier; not farmer, nor soldier, but farmer-soldier; and this is true on the whole even in the later ages when the Roman might be neither farmer nor soldier.  ‘Unremitting work’ is the lot of the farmer, for the seasons wait for no man.  Yet his own work by itself will achieve nothing; he may plan and prepare, till and sow; in patience he must await the aid of forces which he cannot understand, still less control.  If he can make them favourable, he will; but most often he can only cooperate, and he places himself in line with them that they may use him as their instrument, and so he may achieve his end.  Accidents of weather and pest may frustrate him; he must accept compromise and be patient.  Routine is the order of his life; seed-time, growth and harvest follow in appointed series.  The life of the fields is his life.  If as a citizen he is moved to political action at last, it will be in defence of his land or his markets or the labour of his sons.  To him the knowledge born of experience is worth more than speculative theory.  His virtues are honesty and thrift, forethought and patience, work and endurance and courage, self-reliance, simplicity, and humility in the face of what is greater than himself.

Such also are the virtues of the soldier.  He too will know the value of routine, which is a part of discipline, for he must respond as by instinct to a sudden call.  He must be self-reliant.  The strength and endurance of the farmer serve the soldier; his practical skill helps him to become what the Roman soldier must be, a builder and a digger of ditches and maker of roads and ramparts.  He lays out a camp or a fortification as well as he lays out a plot or a system of drains.  He can live on the land, for that is what he has done all his life.  He too knows the incalculable element which may upset the best of dispositions.  He is conscious of unseen forces, and he attributes ‘luck’ to a successful general whom some power–destiny or fortune–uses as an instrument.  He gives his loyalty to persons and to places and to friends.  If he becomes politically violent, he will be violent to secure, when the wars over, land to till and a farm to live in; and still greater loyalty rewards the general who champions his cause.  He has seen many men and many places, and with due caution will imitate what he has seen to work; but for him ‘that corner of the earth smiles above all others’, his home and native fields, and he will not wish to see them changed.

R.H. Barrow, The Romans (Baltimore: Pelican Books 1964), 11-12.

On this day in 1984 Bob Matthews was killed while fighting "…an army of maggots and faggots and reds, race traitors and cowards and jackals, and other kinds of feds".  He is one of my heroes and I remember his death with sadness, but also hope, as he was a great example to us all.  "You were baptized in flames, you died to defend, in the fire that claimed you, clutching faith ’till the end".

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