Notable and Quotable–Pat Hoy on the Culture of West Point

From here:

West Point breeds restraint deep into a man’s soul. A senior cadet can stand behind a plebe and put his face up close to that man’s neck and tell him to stand straighter, or to recite “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline,” or to lead his squad mates in a rousing cheer-or he can give that plebe a series of tasks rapid fire, tasks that would lead most anyone else to frustration; and the plebe will stand there cool as Napoleon’s seventy-fifth maxim demands that he be, and he will take up the tasks one at a time until he gets them right-or he will suffer the wrath of the upperclassman. Take that same plebe to the bayonet course down by the river and tell him to execute the vertical butt stroke series with his bayonetted rifle, and he will rip the sawdust-filled dummy to shreds. A casual observer, on the sidelines of these military spectacles, might think he’s watching homicidal maniacs at work. But he would be wrong. The cadet is no less human than he, and probably much less prone to random acts of violence. The cadet just happens to be trained in the art of war. He understands the merits of restraint as well as the application of force.

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