In his book the Art of War, (which, by the way, is an excellent read for any looking for some weekend reading) Sun Tzu says that very few men will fight, unless they stand on “desperate ground.”
Desperate ground can be hard to find. Society many times goes out the back door, against such men as Joseph Stalin, no one came up against him, only those that stood to lose everything, or understood that everyone else would, opposed him.
When a confrontation can be avoided, it often is. It would be better if it were not that way. We all know the famous stories of thousands, perhaps millions of people under the control of Hitler’s regime who thought it atrocious what was being done to the Jews, and other groups, but said and did nothing, because they were not the ones in danger.
Those that did do or say something tended either to be Jews themselves, or those who recognized when any part of society loses its freedom, everyone else does to. In other words, those who did not try to use the back door.
The back door is almost always there. If you look hard enough is almost any situation, you can usually find a way out, a way to run away and say “living to fight another day.” But not many heroes are made that way, and not many nations saved.
We don’t know the names of the men who ran, during Scotland’s war for independence, at the battle of Fallkirk, but we do know the name of the man that stood. His name was William Wallace.
Vladimir Bukovsky, dissenter from Russia who spent a third of his early life in prisons and insane asylums for daring to oppose the government there by reading poetry in public said “The man in the crowd says ‘why me?’ And everyone is lost. The man with his back against the wall says ‘if not me then who?’ And everyone is saved.”
Andrew C. Abbott