Strength in a person can take many forms. There is of course physical strength, which anyone can hone to the best of their genetic potential. But there is also mental strength, which retaining your cognitive ability under stress. Not breaking down under pressure and becoming useless, that sort of thing. There’s strength of character; standing up for your convictions even if they are unpopular. Strength comes in many forms, and different people exhibit it in different ways, sometimes multiple ways.
Strength breeds independence. People who are strong tend to do things for themselves, and not rely on others. Conversely, the weak tend to want others to do things for them, becoming dependant on the strong to carry them. Sometimes the strong are more than happy to help, as it gives them purpose and a sense of accomplishment. Other times they look down upon the weak for their dependence, usually when they feel they are getting the worse end of the deal.
It is disheartening to see our society slide away from valuing strength like it used to. Unfortunately, this is the inevitable fate of every successful civilization. There hasn’t been a true conflict on our soil for almost a century. Even the poorest and most destitute among us live better lives than many upper class individuals in the Third World. Even the occasional incident of mass violence, tragic as they may be, pales in comparison to the daily violence in Africa and the Middle East. Because of that, we’ve forgotten what true suffering is, and have started taking the wonderfully peaceful life we have here for granted.
Strong men (and now women, but that’s a discussion for another time) still actively stand between the true chaos that humanity can achieve and our homeland. They’re so good at it that most will only see their actions on the television screens from the safety of their living rooms. They have the luxury of critiquing and criticizing those decisions and actions, without realizing that they are being protected from having to make those decisions and actions themselves. And even our current breed of guardians have the advantages of our technologically superior society, and have lived through less horror than those who fought in places like Vietnam, Iwo Jima, and Belleau Wood.
As we lose our appreciation for strength, we’ll start depending more on a smaller and smaller group of strong men and women to carry us. This doesn’t just apply to military and law enforcement. We’ll soon have fewer entrepreneurs creating jobs, as it will take stronger and stronger people to deal with all the regulation and taxes the weak will demand. Granted, the strong will still be there, we’ll just refuse to play the game. I think a guy named Galt once had something to say about that.
Of course, this has all happened before, and it will all happen again. As the saying goes, “Hard times breed hard men, hard men make easy times. Easy times breed soft men, soft men make hard times.” We are becoming victims of our parents and grandparents success, but life has a way of fixing that. So make sure to sharpen your axes and maybe lift more than your ale horn every once in a while.
When the time comes, only the strong will survive.