A Moral Military by Sidney Axinn

By Sidney Axinn

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Constitution), this Constitution has the significant feature that the powers of government are divided into three branches. The legislative, executive, and judicial branches are always in some tension. Each desires more power than it currently has, and so it presses on the domains of the other two. Each branch may consider that “national security” requires that it temporarily take on new duties that the Constitution denies it, and the other branches are expected to fight against such efforts. This continual tension among the three parts of the government was apparently one 22 / C h a p t e r 2 goal of the authors of the Constitution.

If we can imagine good and bad religions, or good and bad gods, then we are using the second of Plato’s criteria for our judgment. We are assuming that there is a basis for judgment that is independent of what a god desires. The other side of Plato’s question takes it that there are some absolute criteria for values and that these exist regardless of what the gods desire. Using this alternative, reason is a likely method for discovering the nature of value, of what is good and should be chosen.

This definition does not require belief in a supernatural being but instead focuses on the purposiveness of the attitude toward the highest goal. A full discussion of Singer’s definition, and of various others, would go beyond our subject; however, there is one feature of Singer’s idea that must be noted. If the essential feature of a religious position is not a belief in a supernatural entity but rather the belief that there is one absolute and supreme 30 / C h a p t e r 2 goal in life, then complete and dedicated patriotism can be classified as religious.

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