Friday, February 6, 2015

Brian Williams (8)

In short, this moral heroism requires intellectual ability and courage, bolstered by learning about the world. Chris Kyle did his job as sniper well, and showed physical courage: but did he show any sense of understanding Iraq, or wanting to understand it? Did he wish to protect its people? Or just his own ‘brothers’? Real heroism, in short, requires a courageous and knowledgeable mind, not just physical guts. Real heroism entails being able to reach beyond one’s own band of brothers to protect the other that one does not fully understand or even fully approve of. It entails understanding one’s own fears and hatreds, deeply, in line with the ancient Greek injunction to ‘know thyself.’ There are soldiers who reach this level of heroism. As there are people of every occupation and walk of life, even newscasters. It is true there is something more real about combat and other forms of physical labor, and it is natural to be drawn to that, to romanticize that. But moral courage, even sacrifice, is not limited to such forms of work.

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