Or be ordinary, mediocre, humdrum, nondescript. Chuck in ambitionless and enfeebled for good measure. In fact, be anything you like if you want to join the British Army, as long it sings to the populist narrative and race-to-the-bottom philosophy of “inclusiveness” and is devoid of aspiration.
Being the best has seemingly now manifested itself as the filthy stench of elitism.
Thankfully Gavin Williamson, the new Defence Secretary, does not share the crackpot political correctness of Sir General Nick Carter, the army’s most senior officer and chief of general staff, who commissioned a £520,000 consultation on an army rebranding exercise. Since when were the armed forces- the instruments of effecting national security at the sharp end- suddenly beholden to the bigotry, prejudice and ignorance of the focus groups made up of Jo Public?
I am glad that the army prides itself on being the best. I sleep better at night knowing that elitism pervades everything that the army does; that only the best quality training and highest standards of military discipline and operational excellence will be accommodated. Why should it apologise for such qualities that other countries’ armed forces look up to in awe and use as a template for their own military standards?
Unfortunately, the utilitarian politics of one-size-fits all has become a very British psychology and one that is now corroding all aspects of life with its Marxist thought policing. In some respects, it is a very modern phenomenon; the language of Momentum and the red-hued disciples of Karl Corbyn. In others, it is the crystallisation of a “prizes for all” doctrine that has been espoused in state schools for many years. Artificial constructs of fairness and equality have been promoted at the expense of winners and losers born out of healthy competition.
Kids have been shielded from the Hobbesian reality of life depicted in Leviathan: that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and that people live in a state of nature that is “the war of all against all”. Admittedly the context of the English Civil War makes Hobbes’s writing a tad dramatic for 2017, but the reference to the innate competitiveness of life is explicit and enduring. The damnable mindset of “it’s not the winning but the taking part” has spat out swathes of adults that neither relate to competition as a tough fact of life, nor recognise it as a constructive framework through which to pursue excellence. Take it one step further and there is the whiff of entitlement that is usually associated with the elite and elitism. Ironic.
The result is Generation Snowflake: a bunch of Millennials who seem to take offence at everything, let everybody know that they are offended by everything and have the personal resilience of, well, a snowflake. These are the kind of dickheads who are offended by such notions of superiority and exclusiveness that, in the context of national security, are there to protect them. It is all the more remarkable that the army’s most senior officer is also the kind of dickhead that has been suckered by the Snowflakes’ spineless and perpetual whingeing.
Presumably an army built on the foundations of inclusiveness and non-elitist egalitarianism will include a smattering of Snowflakes. What betting that some day one of these will demand a “safe space” in the theatre of war as they vent their offence at having bullets whizz past their lugholes?
Wishing you all a distinctly average New Year and a decidedly ordinary 2018.