What You Vote For, You Must Also Commit To

The Athenian statesman and general Phocion lived from about 402 to 318 B.C.  He was famous for his frugal and unassuming personal habits; and he always put the interests of his country first, in stark opposition to his careerist, opportunistic contemporaries. 

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General Jacob Bayley, Patriot And Man Of Character

General Jacob Bayley remains one of the most obscure figures of American Revolutionary War leadership.  Yet in our present age of debilitated moral strength, feeble character, and flexuous purposes, the details of his life and deeds are both instructive and edifying.

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Some Leadership Principles Of John Paul Jones, In His Own Words

John Paul Jones, in a 1781 portrait [PD: US]

I have lately had the pleasure to read some of John Paul Jones’s correspondence during the American Revolution.  It was a surprise to me how many notables he communicated with—not just with his political superiors, but with Benjamin Franklin, the King of France, Lafayette, and many others. 

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No Example, No Trust

The emperor Julius Valerius Maiorianus, known to English-speaking posterity as Majorian, was a vigorous and able sovereign.  He is conceded to have been one of the last western Roman leaders who made an energetic effort to maintain and improve the empire’s institutions.  Even Gibbon, who usually had only snide comments for the later occupants of the Roman throne, condescended to say a good word for him in chapter 36 of his History.  

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Charlemagne Instructs On The Moral Requirements Of Leadership

We do not know the precise location of Charlemagne’s birthplace.  He donned the crown at the ripe age of twenty-nine in 771 A.D. upon the death of Carloman II.  From that moment he became embroiled in an almost ceaseless series of military campaigns designed both to expand his frontiers and safeguard them; in this turbulent age, kings needed to fight as well as administrate.  Historians tell us that he undertook around fifty-three campaigns, and personally commanded most of them. 

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Anecdotes From The Court Of Charlemagne

The chronicler known to posterity as Notker the Stammerer (“Notker Balbulus”) was born in what is now Switzerland around A.D. 840.  He seems to have come from a family that had the means to provide him with the best education his era could offer.  We find him in adulthood as a monk at the monastery at St. Gall, where he was able to exercise his considerable musical talents in composing verses and hymns. 

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The Attack On Firebase Mary Ann

Max Hastings’s excellent history, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, discusses one revealing engagement that took place between American and North Vietnamese forces in late March of 1971.  This action—a ferocious assault on a remote firebase named Mary Ann—merits further reflection, I think, and we will give it its due here.

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The Leadership Principles Of St. Benedict

If we are to understand the mind of early medieval man, we must attempt to place ourselves in his situation and circumstances.  It is difficult for us, having been reared in an age of relative peace and prosperity, to grasp the degree to which Western Europe had succumbed to chaos, warfare, and barbarism after Roman civil authority collapsed in the fourth and fifth centuries. 

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Empty Words, Empty Gestures, Empty Actions

There is a scene near the beginning of the film The Departed (2006) in which the character played by Martin Sheen, a police captain, asks Leonardo DiCaprio, a potential recruit for undercover work, a pointed question.  The question is this:  “Do you want to be cop, or do you just want to appear to be a cop?  It’s a legitimate question.  Some guys just want to appear to be cops.” 

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