Military Organization and Society

Military Organization and Society

Military Organization and Society

Military Organization and Society

Excerpt

The problem of the influence of military organization on society has, on the whole, failed to attract the attention of social scientists. To be sure, much has been written about war, its alleged evil or beneficial effects, its causes and the possibilities of its abolition. But the only writers who appreciated the importance of military factors in shaping societies were Max Weber and Gaetano Mosca. This persistent neglect is due, I think, to the insidious utopianism which pervades sociological thinking. Military organization influences social structure mainly by determining the distribution of naked power or, to use another word, the ability to use violence. Now, most writers are rather peaceful by nature and brute force is a thing which they would like to see exorcised for ever. On the other hand, those who are chauvinistic or inclined to worship might, are averse to critical examination of the exercise of violence, as such examination might besmirch the halo of their idols. Moreover, the belief in progress, which reigned indisputably until recently, included the conviction that humanity was becoming more and more peaceful. No need was felt, therefore, to occupy oneself with organized violence -- the quickly disappearing relic of the barbaric past.

It is no doubt a dismal science, this analysis of the impact of naked power; and the guess about the future is none too reassuring. But I must inform the reader that I am not a dispeptic and disgruntled individual, bent on proving that the world is going to wrack and ruin. On the contrary, I am generally of optimistic disposition. But my supreme goal is to find the truth, and I have tried to the best of my ability to uphold every true scientist's credo of facing the facts, whether they are pleasant or not. I am convinced that, far from being a useless pastime, such disinterested pursuit of truth is the best way in which a social scientist can serve the . . .

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