A lost military technology

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, wealthy private individuals substantially supported the military, with a particular wealthy men buying stuff for a particular regiment or particular fort.

Noblemen paid high prices for military commands, and these posts were no sinecure.  You got the obligation to substantially supply the logistics for your men, the duty to obey stupid orders that would very likely lead to your death, the duty to lead your men from in front while wearing a costume designed to make you particularly conspicuous, and the duty to engage in honorable personal combat, man to man, with your opposite number who was also leading his troops from in front.

A vestige of this tradition remains in that every English prince has been sent to war and has placed himself very much in harms

It seems obvious to me that a soldier being led by a member of the ruling class who is soaking up the bullets from in front is a lot more likely to be loyal and brave than a soldier sent into battle by distant rulers safely in Washington who despise him as a sexist homophobic racist murderer, that a soldier who sees his commander, a member of the ruling classes, fighting right in front of him, is reflexively likely to fight.

So what made very large numbers of rich and powerful people personally sacrifice for the military?  They must have gotten something out of it, and at what they were paying, it was not the salary.

Presumably they got social status, which could be cashed in for wealth and power.  This however requires that we award social status for activities that are actually constructive and support society and order, and that we then allow social status to be cashed in.    Which means we have to make sure that social status is not awarded for superior holiness – we have to hang Greenpeace from the yardarm when they engage in piracy on the high seas, and send William Wilberforce to west indies as a slave to cut sugarcane in punishment for apostasy.

I understand how eighteenth century patriarchy worked, how good behavior was socially and coercively enforced on women.

But I don’t understand how private and individual support of the military by wealthy and or aristocratic males was motivated.  This is a lost social technology.

To make it work, have to bestow status on those worthy, and reward earned status with money and power.

The system eventually failed because the holy claimed higher status than that horribly brutal racist sexist homophobic baby eating military.  The attacks on the military began with synthetic moral outrage at the British army’s successful and heroic measures to cut Russian logistics in the Crimean war, in which the courage and victory of officers and men should have covered them with glory, and have escalated ever since, with ever more  severe efforts to denigrate and disadvantage soldiers.  What was heroism before the Crimean war has become baby eating ever since.

In place of crediting heroes with heroism, they credited whores like Florence Nightingale with heroism.  (I assume she was a whore because most of the female camp followers, and most of the camp followers were female, worked vertically by day and horizontally by night.  Also, when she was hot, she had many connections with many wealthy men, but never married.  When a young cute girl spends a lot of time hanging out with a succession of old rich guys ….)

38 Responses to “A lost military technology”

  1. […] Alexander then tries to analogize this back to Justin Bieber and the Koch brothers, and finds that it doesn’t really work, but it reminds me of something rather different. From Jim’s Blog, “A Lost Military Technology“: […]

  2. Alan J. Perrick says:

    I see people writing sometimes about dying for the cause is great and everything and is what’s needed…But what about even risking one’s life? I don’t think Christians like a suicide mission…And it doesn’t appear that Cathedralite whites like a guaranteed suicide mission either. What kind of activities would lead to the sort of life-style boldness that enables men to even i risk /i their lives?


  3. Kevin C. says:

    An interesting point for comparison, particularly for someone who knows more about the fine details of Chinese history than me, would be the somewhat anti-military attitudes of the Song Dynasty (as seen, for example in the aphorism from that period 好铁不打丁,好汉不当兵, “good iron is not made into nails, good (Han) men do not become soldiers”) as compared to the Tang Dynasty and earlier periods (I seem to recall that aristocrat men often wore swords up through the Tang). I’ve encountered a few explanations for this change, all of which seem to have counterparts in Western history. The primary two I’ve seen most often proposed are that the jiedushi, the regional military governors of the Tang, became too powerful, and thus independent of the central government (such as An Lushan, and the rebellion named for him), leading to the strife-filled “Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period” between the Tang and Song; or that Buddhist influence on Chinese culture reached its peak in the Song, and, along with strains in Confucian thought emphasizing moral suasion over violence, brought more pacifist attitudes.

    The former of these analogizes to the efforts in the modern west of first monarchs, and then demotic governments (aided by changes in military technology) to reduce the power, influence and status of the (martial) aristocracy. The latter, to certain strains of Protestantism and their post-Christian descendants (for some present examples, see many of the comments on Rod Dreher’s recent posts on reading The Camp of the Saints, such as the one who argued that since opening Europe to every Third Worlder that wishes to come will wipe out European Whites, and that [their particular version of] Christianity requires exactly that, therefore the extinction of the White race is the will of Jesus), which worked to transfer status from military glory to pharisaical holiness (see also Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism for how the Reformation helped make possible holiness seeking without monastic renunciation of worldly affairs). I suspect it likely involved a feedback loop between these two trends, possibly with other factors as well. I can’t help but note that the Song Dynasty also saw both the first recorded uses of gunpowder, the first use in history of paper banknotes, and the first permanent standing Chinese navy. And also that the Song ended when they were conquered by highly martial foreigners, the Mongols.

    • jim says:

      Song dynasty followed by long, slow descent into dark age.

      A disturbing comparison.

      Pharisaical holiness is cheap to acquire, whereas military glory is inherently expensive to acquire. Thus, signaling by military glory is a more reliable indicator of good character. Thus easier to have a virtuous ruling class if a martial ruling class.

      Thus phariseeism is apt to result in the standard dark age government where the government steals everything not nailed down, and sets fire to anything that is nailed down.

  4. […] A lost military technology. […]

  5. vxxc2014 says:

    The Lost Military Technology is called: Duty.

    It’s actually not lost just opaque to some it seems.

    The same “social technology” is still working today with military, firefighter/EMT, police, intelligence and even some civil servants and plain old citizens.

    Perhaps if it’s still invisible one shouldn’t mention it.

    Whoever has a future they’ll be defended by same. It seems to run about 1% of the population of it’s own devices. At present in America all of the physically brave above are coming from the same families and communities. Try looking at them. Whoever has a future they’re defended by them.

    • Korth says:

      This is sadly true. Honor and duty rarely motivate behavior anymore; the monetary motive has permeated everything.

      • Alan J. Perrick says:

        A population without virtue will always be enslaved. They should really make the Medal of Honor benefits last for three generations…

  6. With the thoughts you'd be thinkin says:

    OT Australian PM Tony Abbott has been given the boot and replaced by Malcolm Turnbull.

    • jim says:

      A disturbing movement left. Turnbull promises the same policy on illegal immigration, but this does not guarantee the will to actually make that policy stick when push comes to shove.

      Under Tony Abbott, the “private contractors” have had sovereign immunity. Immigration activists accuse them of raping children, and he just tells the activists to pound sand. If their actions are subjected to judicial review, the judges will undoubtedly forbid them from coercing the poor asylum seekers, making it impossible to prevent asylum seekers from going where they will.

  7. Koanic says:

    I assume it is the male cult of honor, gang and warrior.

    E.g. read George Orwell’s Burmese Days. The pukka sahib gets the girl.

    It takes less social structure than you think to accomplish this, because men and women are already evolved for gang warfare culture.

  8. Greg says:

    Aristocrats were individually powerful enough to substantially harm their peers for personal gain. Some social technology is needed to control the risk of defection and free-riding, and I think this is such a technology. It may help motivate the footsoldiers, but my guess is that it is very much about being trusted by other nobles.

    If true, the point is not so much a special reward for doing it, but being suspected, not trusted, and frozen out of opportunities when failing to do it. Riding in front of everybody in a special costume makes it hard to fake, which would be important if the function is to tell the trustworthy from the parasitical.

    The risk profile of “potential death in service to the collective” would have to be acceptable for a true insider, unacceptable for a free-rider. The Peppermint observation would be that the Jew is not especially known for his bravery in battle.

  9. Erebus says:

    The way I see it, there are several reasons for this:

    First, traditions were honored in those days. Most aristocratic families must have had military traditions — and, if you are raised in a family with a military tradition, you are honor-bound to uphold that tradition. Speaking from personal experience, my father and grandfather both served in the military, and it would have been absolutely unthinkable for me (and my younger brother) not to do the same.

    Second, boys in those days grew up in a culture which valued warriors. It’s likely that, besides Jesus, they didn’t have a single hero or role-model who wasn’t some sort of soldier or warrior. Tales of chivalry, a particularly aristocratic military tradition, were especially popular in the 19th century. I think it’s safe to say that if you grow up in a warrior-culture, you will want to become a warrior yourself as soon as you come of age.
    (…And boys today tend to grow up with faggots and anthropomorphic animals as their heroes and role-models. A shame, that…)

    Third, Christian men in those days had religion. Little more need be said about this. The Muslims have it, we don’t, and observe the difference… Without religion, as Houellebecq recently said, our nations are zombies — bodies without souls.

    Lastly, a man growing up in Victorian England or Prussia would have an authentic patriotism the likes of which we would not recognize. They would believe wholeheartedly — and quite rightly — that they live in the best and most enlightened country on Earth, that by serving it they are serving the cause of man, and that colonial or expansionist efforts are more than an opportunity for personal adventure — that they benefit every man involved in any way whatsoever. To serve in the military was therefore a sort of charitable act.
    (…This, more than anything else, has descended into a sort of mockery and farce. Most educated and wealthy men hold our modern governments in a sort of vague contempt — and quite rightly.)

    • Alan J. Perrick says:


      Indeed, and people of the United States would do well to remember our own Thermopaley, the Battle of Alamo. However, you won’t find that information from Cathedral news sources because that would remind Christians here that they are not only Christian or Judeo-Christian, but specifically “Protestant Christian” and white people that they are not only white, but in fact, “Anglo”. No, such gentle nuance won’t be allowed for white people living in Cathedral-controlled states…Not yet, at any rate.

      Best regards,


  10. Red says:

    Glory is multi generational social status for your decedents. That’s why they did it.

  11. Trimegistus says:

    The people who are looking for an economic motive underlying the aristocratic martial tradition are mentally stuck in the present. Those men lived in a system in which economic motives were less important — indeed, were seen as shameful at times. Our inability to understand our own ancestors indicates just how rigid and blinkered modern “enlightened, tolerant” civilization has become.

  12. Mycroft Jones says:

    After the Meiji Restoration, former samurai of Choshu and Satsuma dominated the Imperial government, including its powerful military, for over half a century. During that time, Japan defeated China and Russia in wars and colonized Taiwan and Korea. Choshu men continued to control Japan’s army until the 1920s.

    Current prime minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, his grandfather was Nobusuke Kishi, a prime minister in the 1950s, from Choshu (modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture). Choshu was one of two samurai clans most responsible for bringing about the Meiji Restoration.

    Because Japan has kept its ethnic homogeneity, the aristocracy is able to come back and restore the nation to greatness after some time. When the aristocracy loses its connection to the people, there is no return.

    • Dr. Faust says:

      “When the aristocracy loses its connection to the people, there is no return.”

      Do you believer there are any western nations who can restore that connection?

      • Mycroft Jones says:

        Yes. But not in our lifetimes. It takes a few hundred years to bounce back from decadence like this.

  13. Mycroft Jones says:

    Good point Korth; however, look at Japan. 400 years ago they had good quality guns. They outlawed it, preferring the Samurai/feudal aristocracy. 150 years ago the rifles came back and overthrew the Samurai, true. But afterward, the Samurai families were still given positions in the military, weren’t they?

  14. Korth says:

    Your comment on distant Cathedral apparatchiks looking down upon the military is spot on – Henry Kissinger once let it slip that he saw military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy”

    My two cents on the subject: maybe the aristocratic patronage of the military has been lost not because it was contingent on any long lost social technology, but because labor-intensive warfighting gained the upper hand for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Aristocratic patronage was the general rule back when very skilled and cohesive units of men on horse were the decisive factor in battles. Since the advent of cheap and easy to operate firearms, the odds have increasingly favored whoever has been able to arm and mobilize greater masses of infantry, which has given a competitive edge to demotic regimes. This point was eruditely argued by the great historian Carrol Quingley, most famous in NRx circles for unwittingly describing the Cathedral in his book Tragedy and Hope back in the 60s:


    Demotic regimes can’t afford to be seen giving useful employment to aristocrats even when they happen to be the most qualified for the job (which they often are), so they hand out military comissions to bureaucrats and politicians instead.

    Just as the introduction of the landmine ended human wave attacks for good, I’d bet good money that in the coming decades combat automation will encourage wealthy individuals and corporations to play increasingly bigger roles in the military.

    • jim says:

      We are seeing governments increasingly reliant on “civilian contractors” – armed and dangerous “civilian contractors”. But we are not seeing “civilian contracting” becoming a loss leader subsidized for the benefits and reputation it brings.

      • Dave says:

        We are seeing this in Ukraine. With the Kiev government flat broke, Ukrainian oligarchs are dipping into their personal Swiss bank accounts to train and equip regiments.

  15. Part of the reason many young men of high birth went into the military was because of primogeniture. When the eldest son inherits the entire estate and you are not the eldest son, you are forced to find some other means by which to distinguish yourself. For quite some time, the only careers that were considered respectable for the younger sons of the upper classes were the law, the clergy, and the armed forces. Hence, many young men of elite birth joined the military.

    This does not, of course, explain any of the eldest sons who went into the military, nor those many others of the upper classes who affiliated themselves with the armed forces. I will admit that much, for I am far from entirely knowledgeable on this matter and I will very much defer to those who know more on this matter than I.

    My understanding is that in some families, this tradition carries on to this day (as we see in the current British royal family, in which the male heirs have all served their country in a military capacity), even if this is only done to instill a sense of duty and responsibility, instead of being a means by which younger sons are dispensed with so that they do not compete with their older brother (who is expected to become the heir to the estate, the titles, and all else that comes with being the patriarch of said familial line).

  16. Mycroft Jones says:

    I can think of two possibilities.

    First, similar to AJP. Not so much access to toys and technology, but access to opportunity.

    Two types of opportunity: First, you would know what the army needed and be trusted to provide it; ie, become part of the military-industrial complex.

    Second type of opportunity, as new lands were opened up or enemies defeated, you would know where the business opportunities were. Due to logistics, you would know where the wealth was. Part of an armies job is looting, even today. Look at the looting the USA did in Iraq over the past decade.

    Third type of opportunity relates to the first two: as the servant of power, you learn first hand who REALLY has the power… and what they want. And if you are in a position of trust, they call on you first when opportunities come available. More info on this in “Confessions of an Economic Hit-man”

    Those are the three opportunities of the first possibility.

    The second possibility is this:

    The grasshopper effect. As grasshoppers march, they dare not stop. Else the grasshoppers behind will eat them, in a cannibal orgy. The Battle of Stalingrad showed the grasshopper effect. Soviet troops had to fight to the death, because there were squads behind them whose only job was to shoot them in the back if they did anything other than march forward to their death.

    I think it is a strong possibility that any noble family that did NOT buy into the military industrial complex would get squeezed out and lose their status within a generation. It was like a treadmill. Take a break, and get thrown off.

  17. Dr. Faust says:

    The west is driven by story not by logos. The narrative of the left is the narrative of the West. Just as Christianity is born on the back of the strength of its story so is leftism. The priests are only as powerful as the story they can tell.

    There are not enough INTJ males in the world to understand the logos anyway. Anything with disparate time between it’s cause and effect is too great for anything but a tiny elite to understand. Saying “an ancient strain of protestant religion whose ideological origins are in secularized Enlightenment era philosophy” is not effective. How many people in the US could understand it? Easier to read the story “It’s the Jews.” I can see the Jews. They’re in the White House and SCOTUS and everywhere else.

    Truth has never mattered much. Maybe it matters to lonely men who know and despair but not to anyone else.

    • Alan J. Perrick says:

      Truth has never mattered much. Maybe it matters to lonely men who know and despair but not to anyone else.

      This defeatism again? You seem to have forgotten that even Mister Trump recently said that Political Correctness is a big problem to the applause of the big crowd in front of him…

      Best regards,


      • Dr. Faust says:

        Has nothing to do with defeatism. If someone claims they want want truth over feeling good they’re a liar or don’t understand themselves.

        • Alan J. Perrick says:

          Truth does not need to be masochistic unless you are going by The Cathedral’s definition of it, “Doctor Faust”.


    • mukatsuku says:

      INTP, checking in

    • Richard Nixon's Ghost says:

      >an ancient strain of protestant religion whose ideological origins are in secularized Enlightenment era philosophy
      In Alabama, the standard Confederate rhetoric is pretty similar to this, if you replace “Yankee” with “Puritan”. This is unsurprising, as the Confederacy is the most recent Reactionary political movement in US history.

  18. Mark Minter says:

    This is a long paper by Prof William Hamilton of West Point that got him hounded down and sacked. It has been passed around in the edgeosphere. He declares members of the cathedral to be traitors for this sort of attack on the legitimacy of the military effort.


    Since its release I have seen many others being to declare people as traitors.

  19. Alan J. Perrick says:

    Probably because military has a lot of the latest technologies and so being on good or on great terms with the military would curry various amounts of access to these “toys”, depending. Also, militaries would be opening trade routes, opening lands and making available markets (markets in borderlands or in colonies) so guess who gets the best access to these? One more advantage to patronising military units by the rich would be that military victories would sometimes lead to promotion to a higher ranks in the system of peerages.


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