25 January 2009

New Book

Now that I finally killed the White Whale, it's time to get back to some amusing reading.  

I'll start out by saying that I think the British have long had a jolly good time lampooning inept military leadership.  After all, the British TV show "Black Adder" spent an entire season in the trenches of World War One, where British generals sent Tommies over the top time after time again--a plan so incredibly stupid that the enemy would never suspect that it would happen again. 

Once again, I refer to the penultimate soldier-scholar, T.E. Lawrence, who talks about the inept military leadership that he was saddled with during the First World War, as well as the breath of fresh air that occured when one of the fathers of modern blitzkrieg, General Allenby, took over.  

With that said, a British gentleman by the name of Norman F. Dixon wrote a book sometime in the 70s entitled "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence".  I just opened the book to any page and found this gem.  Let me know if this reminds you of anyone in the military or politics (and our Focus question will be to name these individuals).  If you do know someone like this, what was it like to serve under them?

"Researchers in other parts of the world have been studying what has come to be known as the 'military-industrial personality'--one who is drawn to, and has an emotional investment in, the use of force and the machinery of war to solve world problems.  It has been described as follows:  'The militarist is a relatively prejudiced and authoritarian person.  He is emotionally dependent, socially conformist and religiously orthodox.  His interest in the welfare of others is relatively low.  He is extremely careful of the new and strange'.  Such people are also 'uncreative, unimaginiative, narrow-minded, security-seeking, prestige-oriented, parochial, ultra-masculine, anti-intellectual, extraversive, and severely socialized as children'.   They are lacking in aesthetic appreciation, complexity of thinking, independence, self-expression and altruism, and relatively high in anxiety."

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